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Is China covering up a nuclear leak?

US assessing reported leak at Chinese nuclear power facility, By Zachary Cohen, CNN, June 14, 2021

The US government has spent the past week assessing a report of a leak at a Chinese nuclear power plant, after a French company that part owns and helps operate it warned of an “imminent radiological threat,” according to US officials and documents reviewed by CNN.

The warning included an accusation that the Chinese safety authority was raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province in order to avoid having to shut it down, according to a letter from the French company to the US Department of Energy obtained by CNN.

Despite the alarming notification from Framatome, the French company, the Biden administration believes the facility is not yet at a “crisis level,” one of the sources said.

While US officials have deemed the situation does not currently pose a severe safety threat to workers at the
plant or Chinese public, it is unusual that a foreign company would unilaterally reach out to the American government for help when its Chinese state-owned partner is yet to acknowledge a problem exists. The scenario could put the US in a complicated situation should the leak continue or become more severe without being fixed.

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/14/politics/china-nuclear-reactor-leak-us-monitoring/index.html

June 15, 2021 Posted by | China, incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Chris Hedges: Julian Assange and the Collapse of the Rule of Law

“Lliving in truth in a despotic system is the supreme act of defiance. This truth terrifies those in power.”

Chris Hedges: Julian Assange and the Collapse of the Rule of Law — Rise Up Times Julian exposed the truth.  He exposed it over and over and over until there was no question of the endemic illegality, corruption and mendacity that defines the global ruling elite.
Chris Hedges gave this talk at a rally Thursday night in New York City in support of Julian Assange. John and Gabriel Shipton, Julian’s father and brother, also spoke at the event, which was held at The People’s Forum.  By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

BY MODERATOR  June 11, 2021  This why we are here tonight.  Yes, all of us who know and admire Julian decry his prolonged suffering and the suffering of his family.  Yes, we demand that the many wrongs and injustices that have been visited upon him be ended.  Yes, we honor him up for his courage and his integrity. But the battle for Julian’s liberty has always been much more than the persecution of a publisher.  It is the most important battle for press freedom of our era.  And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Julian and his family, but for us.

Tyrannies invert the rule of law.  They turn the law into an instrument of injustice.  They cloak their crimes in a faux legality.  They use the decorum of the courts and trials, to mask their criminality.  Those, such as Julian, who expose that criminality to the public are dangerous, for without the pretext of legitimacy the tyranny loses credibility and has nothing left in its arsenal but fear, coercion and violence.

The long campaign against Julian and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, the rise of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of inverted totalitarianism, a form of totalitarianism that maintains the fictions of the old capitalist democracy, including its institutions, iconography, patriotic symbols and rhetoric, but internally has surrendered total control to the dictates of global corporations.

I was in the London courtroom when Julian was being tried by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, an updated version of the Queen of Hearts in Alice-in Wonderland demanding the sentence before pronouncing the verdict. It was judicial farce. There was no legal basis to hold Julian in prison.  There was no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the U.S. Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Julian in the embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Julian and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the trial. Julian is being held in a high security prison so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the degrading abuse and torture it hopes will lead to his psychological if not physical disintegration.

The U.S. government directed, as Craig Murray so eloquently documented, the London prosecutor James Lewis.  Lewis presented these directives to Baraitser.  Baraitser adopted them as her legal decision.  It was judicial pantomime. Lewis and the judge insisted they were not attempting to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press while they busily set up the legal framework to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press. And that is why the court worked so hard to mask the proceedings from the public, limiting access to the courtroom to a handful of observers and making it hard and at times impossible to access the trial online.  It was a tawdry show trial, not an example of the best of English jurisprudence but the Lubyanka.

Now, I know many of us here tonight would like to think of ourselves as radicals, maybe even revolutionaries.  But what we are demanding on the political spectrum is in fact conservative, it is the restoration of the rule of law.  It is simple and basic. It should not, in a functioning democracy, be incendiary.  But living in truth in a despotic system is the supreme act of defiance.  This truth terrifies those in power………..https://riseuptimes.org/2021/06/14/chris-hedges-julian-assange-and-the-collapse-of-the-rule-of-law/

June 15, 2021 Posted by | civil liberties, legal, UK | Leave a comment

Why Utah really does not need Bill Gates’ small nuclear reactors

What Bill Gates and co. would like us to forget is that even the these geewhiz new small reactors are still based on that old carbon-releasing fuel chain –

Yes, there is a need to clean up our power generation to curb climate change — the sooner the better. But Williams points to a recent study that determined the lifecycle emissions with nuclear — mining, milling, transporting and storing the fuel and building and decommissioning the plants — far exceed other alternative energy sources.

Cox is eager for a nuclear future. Utahns should tell him why we’re not, says Robert Gehrke,  https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2021/06/14/cox-is-eager-nuclear/ With safer, cleaner, cheaper alternatives, nuclear power may not make the most sense for Utah,   By Robert Gehrke , June 15, 2021,

In Wyoming last week, an announcement was made that could mark a resurgence in the long-stymied nuclear energy industry.

Officials announced plans to build a new 345 megawatt nuclear power plant in the state that could, at its peak, generate enough electricity for all of the households in Wyoming with room to spare.

What makes this announcement different is the array of power players behind the project. It’s a partnership between Warren Buffett-owned Pacificorp and Bill Gates-owned Terrapower that has the backing of President Joe Biden’s Energy Department and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.

It also has the support of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, who praised the project as “a huge announcement” that “will have big implications for Utah in the future.”

“We look forward to similar partnerships in the years to come,” the governor said.

It’s not necessarily a new position. Cox’s predecessor, Gov. Gary Herbert, supported nuclear energy, as did his predecessor, Gov. Jon Huntsman.

But the Wyoming announcement ups the stakes dramatically, moving it from concept to something more concrete and forcing Utahns to confront critical questions nagging nuclear power: Is it safe? Is it cost-effective? And is it right for Utah?

Safety has always been the issue dogging nuclear power. Whether it’s Three Mile Island or Chernobyl or Fukushima, you surely have some nuclear disaster as a touchstone framing you perception of the energy.

The good news, according to Michael Simpson, chair of the Material Science and Engineering department at the University of Utah, is that the Natrium reactors that Terrapower hopes to build in Wyoming are generally safer than the old water-cooled reactors.

The Terrapower plant would be cooled with sodium, which transfers heat better than water, meaning it is less likely to melt down (like Chernobyl) or explode (like Fukushima).

Years ago, Simpson said, researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory did an experiment with a sodium-cooled reactor where they shut off the sodium coolant and instead of heating, the reactor slowly cooled and the reaction stopped.

Others dispute the safety claims, however. Earlier this year, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a report that said the sodium reactors are unproven and raise other safety issues — for example, the sodium can burn if exposed to air.

“When it comes to safety and security, sodium-cooled fast reactors and molten salt-fueled reactors are significantly worse than conventional light-water reactors,” said Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety for UCS.

Then there is the waste issue. The proponents of the sodium reactors contend that they would burn more of the fuel, producing less waste. Again, UCS disputes that and argues the waste that would be generated would pose nuclear proliferation and possible terrorism risks.

Then there’s the economics of nuclear power.

Recently, South Carolina completely scrapped a water-cooled nuclear plant that had been in the works for years. Some $9 billion was squandered sparking lawsuits by investors and ratepayers demanding their money back.

Rocky Mountain Power’s own figures released in 2019 put the cost of nuclear power at $95 per megawatt hour, compared to around $25 to $30 per hour for solar. Some cost projections are lower, some are higher, but none put nuclear in the same ballpark as solar, raising the obvious concern that we’ll be on the hook for the added expense one way or another — either as ratepayers or as taxpayers subsidizing the more costly power source.

There’s also a larger question, according to Scott Williams, executive director of HEAL Utah, an environmental group that has opposed nuclear power: Do we need it?

Yes, there is a need to clean up our power generation to curb climate change — the sooner the better. But Williams points to a recent study that determined the lifecycle emissions with nuclear — mining, milling, transporting and storing the fuel and building and decommissioning the plants — far exceed other alternative energy sources.

But the TerraPower reactor isn’t expected to come online until 2028 and, as we saw in South Carolina, when it comes to building nuclear power plants, the projections often are unrealistically optimistic.

With battery technology improving and rooftop solar expanding and getting cheaper, there’s no reason to gamble on nuclear, Williams said, other than centralized generation benefits Rocky Mountain’s shareholders.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” he said. “If you’re looking at it objectively, to say it’s better to put a bunch of money into a technology that not only isn’t proven, but has been proven to fail time and time again.”

And we have to take into account our state’s history with nuclear energy that is nothing short of radioactive itself, from the miners and uranium mill workers sickened by their exposure to radiation, to the thousands upon thousands of Utah Downwinders stricken with various cancers as a result of nuclear weapons testing in Nevada, to the decade-long battle to beat back a nuclear waste storage facility in Utah’s desert.

So do we scrap the whole nuclear idea? Not necessarily.

But if Utah wants to venture down the nuclear energy path, these questions and a host of others have to be thoroughly researched and addressed. We’re not there yet and until we are, the cheerleading from the Biden administration and Gov. Cox feels premature.

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

ICAN chief urges Biden and Putin to push for deep cuts in nuclear arsenals, encourage China to back away from arms race.

“I think that this meeting could hopefully, for the safety of the world, be a turning point and the start of a process to really pull us back from this very dangerous position we are in right now.”

“These two countries, they hold over 90% of the world’s (nuclear) arsenals. These two individuals basically have the ability to end the world as we know it,” Fihn said. “What is important is that there is an ambition expressed to reach zero and start chipping away at the nuclear arsenals.”

Anti-nuclear campaigner urges Biden and Putin to back fresh arms talks, Reuters, 15 June 21, Stephanie Nebehay  Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have an opportunity this week to push for deep cuts in their nuclear arsenals, a step which could help persuade China to back away from an arms race, the head of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning campaign group said on Monday.

Despite well-publicised friction between the U.S. and Russian leaders meeting on Wednesday in Geneva, Beatrice Fihn, head of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), said she believed it was possible that it could mark a “turning point” and yield a pledge for new nuclear arms talks.

In February, the United States and Russia extended the New START arms control treaty for five years, preserving the last treaty limiting deployments of the world’s two largest strategic nuclear arsenals.

“There is not a huge sense of expectations of something radical, a strong commitment. But I really do think that it is a possibility to lay out the beginning of a process to negotiate new reductions,” Fihn said in an interview at ICAN offices, where a framed copy of its 2017 Nobel award is displayed.

“I think that this meeting could hopefully, for the safety of the world, be a turning point and the start of a process to really pull us back from this very dangerous position we are in right now.”

The 2010 New START treaty limits the two countries to deploying no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads each and imposes restrictions on the land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.

“These two countries, they hold over 90% of the world’s (nuclear) arsenals. These two individuals basically have the ability to end the world as we know it,” Fihn said. “What is important is that there is an ambition expressed to reach zero and start chipping away at the nuclear arsenals.”………..

I think an agreement between the U.S. and Russia to start negotiating nuclear disarmament reductions would really put a lot of pressure on China, on the U.K., on France to also come to the table and provide some evidence or progress towards their commitment to disarmament.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, nuclear-armed states spent $72.6 billion on such weapons in 2020, little changed from 2019, according to an ICAN report issued last week. The United States accounted for more than half of that spending, with China second. https://www.reuters.com/world/anti-nuclear-campaigner-urges-biden-putin-back-fresh-arms-talks-2021-06-14/

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NATO’s hostility to the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty is in conflict with its true goal – to become a non-nuclear alliance .

NATO’s Nuclear Two-Step, An alliance that avows nuclear disarmament should not cling so dangerously to its weapons. https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2021/06/natos-nuclear-two-step/174703/  BY RICHARD LENNAN, EFORMER UN  DISARMAMENT OFFICIAL, JUNE 14, 2021 

NATO wants to become a non-nuclear alliance. That sentence might surprise many, but it’s true: when the organization achieves its long-standing goal of full implementation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, its members will no longer possess nuclear weapons.

Given the growing risks, it would be natural for NATO to be reinvigorating and accelerating its efforts on nuclear disarmament. Perversely, however, the alliance has been moving in the opposite direction.

Despite NPT commitments to work to reduce stockpiles and diminish the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines, the three nuclear-armed NATO members are all improving their nuclear arsenals. NATO rhetoric in favor of nuclear weapons is hardening, and the alliance is “circling the wagons” around nuclear deterrence. Although the North Atlantic Treaty makes no mention of nuclear weapons, NATO was officially dubbed a “nuclear alliance” in the 2010 Strategic Concept and this deliberate embedding of nuclear weapons in the alliance’s identity has steadily continued.

Political support by individual NATO members for retaining NATO’s nuclear weapons capability is increasingly seen as a test of loyalty and unity; discussion of alternatives is discouraged, even punished. Bizarrely, the NATO 2030 Reflection Group report recommended that “NATO should better communicate on the key role of its nuclear deterrence policy… so as to effectively counter hostile efforts to undermine this vital policy.” An uninitiated observer could be forgiven for thinking that NATO’s raison d’être is not “to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization” of its members, but rather to defend and protect their right to use weapons of mass destruction.

When much of the world is strengthening the norm against nuclear weapons by joining the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or TPNW, NATO is undermining its own security by encouraging proliferation of nuclear weapons, by provoking arms races with nuclear-armed rivals, and by constraining the ability of alliance members to pursue effective steps towards nuclear disarmament.

Nowhere is the harmful effect of this trend clearer than in NATO’s counterproductive hostility to the TPNW. The treaty’s objective is also one professed by NATO: ending the nuclear weapons threat by eliminating nuclear weapons. Any differences therefore come down to the means by which this objective is to be achieved. Yet NATO has reacted to the TPNW as if it were some kind of dangerous assault on its core values, if not a threat to its very existence.

The reasons given for NATO’s opposition have been described by Hans Blix as “strained” and by former Canadian foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy as “phoney baloney”. There is no legal reason that NATO allies cannot join the TPNW, and NATO’s obsessive focus on the treaty has prevented any consideration of what it can offer the alliance.

By supporting and joining the the treaty, individual NATO states can help to build a robust new global norm against nuclear weapons, strengthening barriers against proliferation, diminishing pressure for nuclear arms races, and reducing the overall reliance of NATO on nuclear weapons, opening up pathways for progress on disarmament. They will also demonstrate their commitment to fully discharging their disarmament obligations under the earlier Non-Proliferation Treaty, easing tensions among its signatories. 

Conversely, the approach of blanket dismissal of and hostile non-engagement with the TPNW will only constrain NATO’s options, alienate potential partners, and push the alliance’s nuclear disarmament goal further out of reach. 

Outside the alliance’s current leadership, there is growing support within a number of member states for joining the TPNW. A range of former leaders, including NATO secretaries general and defense and foreign ministers, have called on NATO states to join. Parliaments in NATO states have passed motions in support of the treaty; cities across the alliance have called on their governments to join it. Opinion polls in many NATO states consistently support, by a clear margin, accession to the treaty.

NATO as a non-nuclear alliance would be something to celebrate. Yet rather than openly aspiring to such status, and discussing how it might look and function, the alliance seems to be actively avoiding – even suppressing – any consideration of the possibility. This is a dangerously counterproductive and shortsighted approach. 

It is time for NATO members to shake off the restrictions of reactive, short-term thinking about nuclear weapons, and instead to re-embrace the vision of nuclear disarmament as a preventative tool for shaping NATO’s security environment. While total elimination of nuclear weapons may remain a distant goal, envisioning and planning for NATO as a non-nuclear alliance should begin now. Positive and constructive engagement with the TPNW, including joining the treaty for those NATO members willing and ready to do so, would be a logical place to start. 

Richard Lennane is a former Australian diplomat and UN disarmament official. He is a principal co-author of A Non-Nuclear Alliance: Why NATO Members Should Join the UN Ban on Nuclear Weapons, published on 10 June 2021 by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).   

June 15, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

50 Years After Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg Reveals U.S. Weighed 1958 Nuclear Strike on China over Taiwan,

50 Years After Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg Reveals U.S. Weighed 1958 Nuclear Strike on China over Taiwan, Democracy Now, JUNE 14, 2021,

As President Biden meets with leaders of NATO countries, where he is expected to continue stepping up rhetoric against China and Russia ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this Wednesday in Geneva, we speak with famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg about why he recently released another classified document showing that U.S. military planners in 1958 pushed for nuclear strikes on China to protect Taiwan from an invasion by communist forces.

The top-secret study revealed the U.S. military pressed then-President Dwight Eisenhower to prepare a nuclear first strike against mainland China during the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1958. Taiwan “could really only be defended, if at all, by the U.S. initiating nuclear war against China,” says Ellsberg. The document also shows that U.S. military planners were ready to accept the risk that the Soviet Union would launch its own nuclear retaliation, including against Japan. Although Ellsberg’s online release of the document was publicized in May, he reveals that he shared the same information with Japan decades earlier. “I had given the entire study to the Japanese Diet,” Ellsberg says.


Transcript…………………..

https://www.democracynow.org/2021/6/14/daniel_ellsberg_leak_us_nuclear_plans

June 15, 2021 Posted by | history, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

British medical journal calls for global conversation on Tokyo Olympics — limitless life

Tokyo 2020 Olympics British medical journal calls for global conversation on Tokyo Olympics Today  06:48 pm JST  73 Comments TOKYO A British medical journal has called for a “global conversation” about what to do with the Tokyo Olympics set to open next month amid the coronavirus pandemic, while criticizing global health organizations for being largely silent on the […]

British medical journal calls for global conversation on Tokyo Olympics — limitless life

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 14 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Tracking The Transition: The ‘Forgotten’ Emissions Undoing The Work Of Australia’s Renewable Energy Boom” • A working paper from Australian National University shows that despite emissions reductions in the electricity supply and elsewhere, and transport, industry, and buildings sectors are dragging Australia backwards on emissions. [pv magazine Australia] Rooftop PV system in Australia […]

June 14 Energy News — geoharvey

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US To Probe Reports Of Possible Leak At A Chinese Nuclear Plant | False Alarm or Cover Up?

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment