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Nuclear news: week to 24 August

As the Afghanistan crisis continues, many writers consider the underlying causes of the USA’s prolonged wars, and reveal the staggering profits made by the weapons-making corporations. From the corporate point of view, the 20 year war has been a great success.

Coronavirus:more than 212.1 million cases of COVID-19  The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.4 million.  The Delta variant puts  a strain on health systems. Several countries struggle, with lockdowns needed – Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand.  Case numbers rise in France. Debates go on about child vaccination, mandatory vaccination, and booster doses of vaccine.

ClimateGlobal heating and its effects, extreme weather events keep on. The IPCC Report finds we will cross the 1.5C warming  danger line in the 2030’s, pretty well no matter what we do. 

NUCLEAR, Very quietly indeed – you could easily miss this, – come two positive events for the nuclear-free movement; exclusion of nuclear from the Green Zone at COP26, and USA’s nuclear regulator rejecting the push to weaken radiation safety standards. 

Some bits of good news:  What went right this week: how we saved Earth before, plus more positive news,  Australia’s ‘healing journey’.

USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission affirms that a little ionising radiation may be bad for health.

Nuclear lobby miserable, but Friends of the Earth relieved, that nuclear industry is excluded from the Green Zone at COP26 Climate Summit.

The tie between climate change and nuclear weapons.

Action on climate change is stalled by unwise spending on small nuclear reactors.

Frozen conflicts and forever warsWikiLeaks and the Crimes of the West in Afghanistan.

Renewables are beating nuclear,

Bill Gates and the corporates behind the fake solutions to climate change. Arnie Gundersen writes to Bill Gates – about public funding for Gates’ false Natrium nuclear solution to climate change.    

 Why Cosmic Radiation Could Foil Plans for Farming on Mars.

IRAN. Biden’s Iran envoy calls nuclear deal’s fate ‘one big question mark”Russia, Germany, hope efforts to save Iran nuclear deal will be continued — Putin.     Iran Foreign Ministry defends latest nuclear measures.

JAPAN. Safety review of reactor at Tsuruga nuclear plant halted over data tamperingRadioactive snakes may monitor Fukushima fallout. 5.2-magnitude quake strikes off Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, no tsunami warning issued .

CANADA. Canada’s nuclear reactors may not be fit for service. The final costly burden of Ontaria’s nuclear decommissioning will fall to the great-grandchildren of babies born in 2021.



CHINA. The health and environmental costs of China’s nuclear bomb tests,

FRANCE. France’s oldest nuclear reactors allowed to operate for another decade. France returns high level nuclear waste to Germany (What happens to it then?)

SOUTH  AFRICA. South Africa’s Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) opposes plan for new nuclear power.

SOUTH KOREANuclear Weapons in South Korea? Not So Fringe Anymore.

PHILIPPINES. An expert explains that the Philippines’ nuclear power plant would be OK, but solar power would be faster and better.

PACIFIC ISLANDS. No apology from France, as new report reveals the harm done to Pacific islands by atomic bomb tests.

POLANDOpposition to nuclear power plants in Poland.

IRAQ. Iraq needs energy, but nuclear power is not the answer.

RUSSIA. Russian nuclear power plants insured for $27 billion

AUSTRALIA. Australia’s participation in America’s wars. Was it worth it?     Little chance for genuine community consultation on Napandee nuclear waste dump decision.


August 23, 2021 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission affirms that a little ionising radiation may be bad for health

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Affirms that a Little Radiation may be Bad for Health SRS Watch 21 August 21 Amazingly, the NRC denies industry friendly petitions that claim “a little radiation is good for you.”

“Petition for Rulemaking; Denial: Linear No-Threshold Model and Standards for Protection Against Radiation”Nuclear Regulatory Commission, August 17, 2021

“The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is denying three petitions for rulemaking (PRMs), submitted by Dr. Carol S. Marcus, Mr. Mark L. Miller, Certified Health Physicist, and Dr. Mohan Doss, et al. (collectively, the petitioners) in correspondence dated February 9, 2015, February 13, 2015, and February 24, 2015, respectively.

The petitioners request that the NRC amend its regulations based on what they assert is new science and evidence that contradicts the linear no-threshold (LNT) dose-effect model that serves as the basis for the NRC’s radiation protection regulations. The NRC docketed these petitions on February 20, 2015, February 27, 2015, and March 16, 2015, and assigned them Docket Numbers PRM-20-28, PRM-20-29, and PRM-20-30, respectively.

The NRC is denying the three petitions because they fail to present an adequate basis supporting the request to discontinue use of the LNT model. The NRC has determined that the LNT model continues to provide a sound regulatory basis for minimizing the risk of unnecessary radiation exposure to both members of the public and radiation workers. Therefore, the NRC will maintain the current dose limit requirements contained in its regulations.”NRC webpage:

August 23, 2021 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

The health and environmental costs of China’s nuclear bomb tests

According to reports, China’s effort to become nuclear superpower has cost 1.94 lakh lives as it conducted around 45 successful nuclear tests between 1964-1996

By Ujjwal Samra   22 Aug 21,

China’s effort to become a nuclear superpower, according to reports, has cost 1.94 lakh lives as it conducted around 45 successful nuclear tests between 1964 and 1996. Peter Suciu, writing in The National Interest, stated that estimates suggest 194,000 people have died from acute radiation exposure, while around 1.2 million may have received doses high enough to induce leukaemia, solid cancers, and fetal damage during China’s nuclear test attempts.

As per the report, the nuclear test produced a yield of 3.3 megatons–200 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The atomic bomb ‘Little Boy’ detonated on Hiroshima, Japan, killed nearly 80,000 instantly; this marked the first use of nuclear weapons in war. 

‘Xinjiang region remained unclear how radiation affected the populace’

The effects of China’s nuclear testing, especially those nearly two dozen atmospheric tests (a total of twenty-three were conducted in the atmosphere), have not largely been studied due to a lack of official data, says Suciu. Xinjiang region that is home to some twenty million people of different ethnic backgrounds has remained unclear how radiation has affected the populace. A Japanese researcher, who studied the radiation levels, has suggested the peak radiation dose in Xinjiang exceeded that measured on the roof of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor following the 1986 meltdown. Suciu also states that reports suggest that radioactive dust has spread across the region, and hundreds of thousands of people may have died already from the nearly four dozen total nuclear tests that were carried out between 1964 and 1969. 

China’s atmospheric nuclear testing

China conducted its first atomic bomb test in 1964 in Lop Nur – Project 596, known as the code word “Chic-1” by the US intelligence community (IC). The last of China’s atmospheric tests, which was also the last atmospheric test in the world, took place at Area D at Lop Nur on October 16, 1980–sixteen years to the day from the first test. Since that time, all nuclear tests have been conducted underground due to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) concluded in 1996. However, neither Washington nor Beijing has accepted it, even though China has sworn to have adhered to the terms, reported the National Interest. 

‘Serious Problem with China’s Nuclear Plant’

Earlier, the French co-owner of a nuclear power plant in China on July 21 warned of problems serious enough to warrant a shutdown. According to CNN, the spokesperson for Electricite de France (EDF) said that the damage to the fuel rods at China’s Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, located in southern Guandong province, are serious enough to warrant shutdown. It was a “serious situation that is evolving,” he said. However, China even denied raising the acceptable limits of radiation. It said that the levels were “still within the range of allowable, stable operations”. 

August 23, 2021 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The American world-wide empire of military bases

American military bases overseas are now scattered across 81 countries, colonies, or territories on every continent except Antarctica. And while their total numbers may be down, their reach has only continued to expand.

As long as this count of 750 military bases in 81 places remains a reality, so, too, will U.S. wars. As succinctly put by David Vine in his latest book, The United States of War, ““Bases frequently beget wars, which can beget more bases, which can beget more wars, and so on.”  ………..

New Bases, New Wars

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, thanks in part to a growing push for a Cold War-style “containment” of China, new bases are being constructed in the Pacific.

The All-American Base World August 19, 2021  As long as this current count of 750 military bases in 81 places remains a reality, so, too, will U.S. wars, writes Patterson Deppen. Consortium News   By Patterson Deppen
  ”…………..  Having closed down hundreds of military bases and combat outposts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Pentagon will now shift to an “advise-and-assist” role in Iraq. Meanwhile, its top leadership is now busy “pivoting” to Asia in pursuit of new geostrategic objectives primarily centered around “containing” China. As a result, in the Greater Middle East and significant parts of Africa, the U.S. will be trying to keep a far lower profile, while remaining militarily engaged through training programs and private contractors…………

 I’ve just finished compiling a list of American military bases around the world, the most comprehensive possible at this moment from publicly available information. It should help make greater sense of what could prove to be a significant period of transition for the U.S. military.

Despite a modest overall decline in such bases, rest assured that the hundreds that remain will play a vital role in the continuation of some version of Washington’s forever wars and could also help facilitate a new Cold War with China.

According to my current count, our country still has more than 750 significant military bases implanted around the globe. And here’s the simple reality: unless they are, in the end, dismantled, America’s imperial role on this planet won’t end either, spelling disaster for this country in the years to come. 

Tallying Up the ‘Bases of Empire’  

I was tasked with compiling what we’ve (hopefully) called the “2021 U.S. Overseas Base Closure List” after reaching out to Leah Bolger, president of World BEYOND War. As part of a group known as the Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition (OBRACC) committed to shutting down such bases, Bolger put me in contact with its co-founder David Vine, the author of the classic book on the subject, Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World 

Bolger, Vine and I then decided to put together just such a new list as a tool for focusing on future U.S. base closures around the world. In addition to providing the most comprehensive accounting of such overseas bases, our research also further confirms that the presence of even one in a country can contribute significantly to anti-American protests, environmental destruction, and ever greater costs for the American taxpayer.

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August 23, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

No apology from France, as new report reveals the harm done to Pacific islands by atomic bomb tests

Although testing stopped more than two decades ago, its legacy lives on in French Polynesia’s politics, health, economy and environment,

“In every other Pacific Island, you have the same,” said Colombani, who also spent more than a decade working in French Polynesia’s tourism sector. “You have the postcard, but if you look beyond that, there’s something you cannot even imagine.”

New study on nuclear testing in French Polynesia reveals France’s ‘censorship and secrecy’

More than 400 claims have been filed against the French government for nuclear tests on French Polynesia between 1966 and 1996. Scientists say about 110,000 people have been affected by radioactive fallout.  
It’s been nearly two decades since France stopped testing nuclear weapons in French Polynesia.

But many across French Polynesia’s 118 islands and atolls across the central South Pacific were disappointed last month when President Emmanuel Macron, on his very first trip to the territory France has controlled since 1842, failed to apologize for the nearly 200 nuclear tests conducted between 1966 and 1996.

“Faced with dangerous powers in the concert of nations, I wish to say here that the nation owes a debt to French Polynesia,” Macron said in a July 27 speech. He went on to admit that the tests on the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls were “not clean in any way” — but stopped short of an official apology.

Guillaume Colombani, who works for Radio Te Reo-o-Tefana, said while they weren’t expecting an apology, it was still devastating not to get one.

“So, when you do something wrong, whatever it is, if you go and see the people you have hurt and you say, ‘Listen, I’m sorry for what I’ve done,’” said Colombani, “it is easier for the community to say, ‘OK, we accept, here’s forgiveness,’ or ‘No, we don’t accept. You have to do something for us.’”

Colombani, 41, grew up in Tahiti during the last decades of the nuclear tests and said he remembers seeing images of blue lagoons turning white after bombs were set off. He can recount the hyper-polarization of the issue and the anti-nuclear demonstrations spurred across the Pacific.

Although testing stopped more than two decades ago, its legacy lives on in French Polynesia’s politics, health, economy and environment, he said.

Underestimated exposure levels 

Scientists have long estimated some 110,000 people were affected by the radioactive fallout — many of them French Polynesians who worked at the testing sites. However, a study released earlier this year revealed that France underestimated the level of toxic exposure during the atmospheric tests that took place in the 1960s and ’70s.

The Mururoa Files was based on a two-year investigation of more than 2,000 declassified French state documents as well as various interviews conducted in French Polynesia.

“We found that they underestimated the level of exposure by factors of two to 10, depending on the tests and locations,” said Sebastien Philippe, a researcher and lecturer at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs with the program on science and global security and co-author of the study.

That’s two to 10 times higher than the estimates given by France’s Atomic Energy Commission in a report produced nearly a decade after testing stopped. The findings compiled by Philippe and his team found, among other things, that one reason the estimates of radiation exposure were so low is that France did not take into account contaminated drinking water.

Ultimately, this systematic underestimation not only made it more difficult to link cases of cancer to the nuclear tests, but it also made it harder for victims to get compensated.

“The compensation process was scientifically broken, and I think the reason for that is the government really realized how much money it was going to cost them, and decided it would be easier to deal with this in court,” Philippe said.

More than 400 claims have been filed against the French government, but only about half have been settled in the last 10 years. Philippe said this was allowed to happen because of the French government’s “censorship and secrecy” surrounding the nuclear testing.

One upside of the release of this study, he said, was the French government’s commitment to open more government archives to the public — a commitment that President Macron made on his recent trip. The French government did not respond to The World’s request for comment about Macron’s trip.

Irreversible environmental damage

The underestimation of the radioactive fallout also made it difficult to fully understand the scope of irreversible environmental damage from the nuclear testing.

Keitapu Maamaatuaiahutapu, a physicist and climate scientist at the University of French Polynesia, said the destruction was particularly bad when the testing went underground in the mid-’70s and bombs were set off in boreholes drilled into the atolls

These bombs had power “100 to 1,000 times more than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima,” he said.

Whole lagoons full of coral were decimated and fish populations were poisoned for years. Now, there’s also a concern that the atolls may break apart — a process being sped up by rising ocean levels due to climate change, he said.

“And the release of the radioactivity from those holes,” Maamaatuaiahutapu said. “Not only would that create [a] tsunami, but it would pollute the ocean.”

France continues to control all of the information about the damage caused by nuclear testing, including heavily guarding the test sites themselves, he said, so there might not be a way to tell when something might happen. Both the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls are more than 700 miles away from the main island of Tahiti.

Maamaatuaiahutapu also said that he doesn’t believe that French Polynesia will never get an official apology from Paris, and that also creates political problems.

Experts said that French Polynesians who are loyal to France don’t want to criticize Paris, because it supports the territory with some $2 billion a year.

On the other hand, the independent movement, which both Maamaatuaiahutapu and Colombani are part of, supports every effort to hold France accountable, and to spread the word about nuclear tests across the Pacific — a place known mostly for its beauty.

“In every other Pacific Island, you have the same,” said Colombani, who also spent more than a decade working in French Polynesia’s tourism sector. “You have the postcard, but if you look beyond that, there’s something you cannot even imagine.”

August 23, 2021 Posted by | environment, France, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The nuclearization of space

Where will those funds come from?  Maybe from the budget that helps deal with our current climate crisis here on Mother Earth.”

Not mentioned by Aviation Week & Space Technology was an accident the year earlier—involving a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, SNAP-9A, not a reactor but a device utilizing heat from the breakdown of plutonium to produce electricity. The satellite on which it was to provide power failed to attain orbit and crashed back into the atmosphere, the plutonium in SNAP-9A dispersing and spreading widely on Earth.

Dr. John Gofman, an M.D. and Ph.D. involved in the isolation of plutonium during the Manhattan Project and long a professor of medical physics at the University of California at Berkeley, connected the SNAP-9A accident with a spike in lung cancer on Earth.

despite claiming for decades that nuclear power was needed for space probes, NASA used three solar photovoltaic panels on its Juno space probe, which in 2016 reached Jupiter. Juno is still up there, orbiting and studying the solar system’s largest planet, at which sunlight is a hundredth of what it is on Earth.

Fast track to Mars could come at terrible price

The nuclearization of space — Beyond Nuclear International The nuclearization of space
Defense Department signals growing interest By Karl Grossman 22 Aug 21,

BACK TO THE FUTURE NASA’S NEW NUCLEAR VISION” was the headline emblazoned on the cover of the May 3-16, 2021 edition of the leading U.S. aerospace trade publication, Aviation Week & Space Technology.
“More than sixty years after the U.S. began serious studies into nuclear propulsion for space travel, NASA is taking the first steps on a new path to develop nuclear-powered engines for crewed missions to Mars by the end of the next decade,” it began.
“Nuclear enabled space vehicles would allow NASA to keep the round-trip crewed Mars mission duration to about two years, versus more than three years with the best chemical rockets and even longer with solar electric propulsion,” the extensive five-page piece declared.

Also, it said, “other factors strengthening the case for nuclear power include growing interest from the Defense Department in using the technology to extend operational capability in space.”

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August 23, 2021 Posted by | space travel, USA | Leave a comment

The nuclearization of space — Beyond Nuclear International

Fast track to Mars could come at terrible price

The nuclearization of space — Beyond Nuclear International

August 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

WikiLeaks and the Crimes of the West in Afghanistan

In 2010, WikiLeaks published 76,000 previously classified documents about the war, containing references to hundreds of other war crimes. But instead of investigating these cases and bringing the guilty to justice, the messenger, Julian Assange, was pursued.

Today he is sitting, critically ill, in a British high-security prison and has to fear being extradited to the U.S., where he is threatened with life imprisonment under inhumane conditions.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, came to the conclusion, after an in-depth investigation of the case, that Assange had been and is systematically tortured by Western authorities.

WikiLeaks & the Crimes of the West in Afghanistan August 20, 2021   Fabian Scheidler says so much suffering — including Assange’s imprisonment for exposing war criminals — buries the idea of “humanitarian intervention.” By Fabian Scheidler
Common Dreams

The heedless flight of NATO troops from Afghanistan and the havoc they leave behind are only the last chapter in a devastating story that began in October 2001.

At that time, the U.S.  government, supported by allies including the German administration, announced that the terror attacks of Sept. 11 should be answered by a war in Afghanistan.

None of the assassins were Afghan. And the Taliban government at the time even offered the U.S.  to extradite Osama bin Laden — an offer the U.S.  did not even respond to. Virtually no word was said about the country of origin of 15 of the 19 terrorists — Saudi Arabia.

On the contrary: members of the Bin Laden family were flown out of the U.S. A in a night-and-fog operation so that they could not be interrogated. After classified parts of the 9/11 commission report were released in 2016, it emerged that high-ranking members of the Saudi embassy in Washington had been in contact with the terrorists before the attacks. Consequences? None. They are our allies.

So, Afghanistan was attacked. Already during the Cold War, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia had supported Islamists there on a large scale against the Soviet Union.

Now the Islamist warlords of the “Northern Alliance” were the new allies. The German Armed Forces flanked the U.S. troops. While their deployment was shrouded in the narrative of a “humanitarian intervention”, the Bundeswehr in fact worked hand in hand with the warlords, as investigative journalist Marc Thörner reported. (He was the only German reporter on site who was not embedded in the military.)

Thörner predicted that the complicity of the NATO troops in the war crimes and the “counterinsurgency methods from the colonial era” would turn the population more and more against the West and strengthen fundamentalism. We see the result today: the triumph of the Taliban across the country.

Supporting War Criminals & Committing War Crimes 

The U.S. troops as well as the Bundeswehr and other allies not only supported war criminals on the ground, they also committed serious crimes themselves. None of the perpetrators was ever convicted in court for this.

Take Kunduz, for example: in September 2009 the Bundeswehr bombed a mainly civilian trek here, with over one hundred dead or seriously injured, including children. The proceedings against those primarily responsible, Colonel Georg Klein and Defense Minister Jung (CDU), ended with acquittals.

In 2010, WikiLeaks published 76,000 previously classified documents about the war, containing references to hundreds of other war crimes. But instead of investigating these cases and bringing the guilty to justice, the messenger, Julian Assange, was pursued.

Today he is sitting, critically ill, in a British high-security prison and has to fear being extradited to the U.S., where he is threatened with life imprisonment under inhumane conditions.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, came to the conclusion, after an in-depth investigation of the case, that Assange had been and is systematically tortured by Western authorities.

Most of the big media, which got a lot of attention and made money with the leaks of their journalist colleague, have now largely dropped him. And with it the defense of the freedom of the press, which is especially crucial when it comes to questions of war and peace. So, Assange is on trial — and not the war criminals.

All those who warned against the Afghanistan war were ridiculed from the start as naive pacifists or even accused of evading humanitarian responsibility and thus playing into the hands of the Islamists.

But today it is finally clear: the alleged humanitarian operation only plunged the country further into misery and strengthened the Islamists. As in Iraq, as in Libya, as in Mali. It is time to finally bury the doctrine of the “responsibility to protect,” which was coined at the time of the beginning of the Afghan war, and to brand it as what it was from the beginning: a neocolonial project.

Instead of military interventions, one could, for example, begin to drain the terror sponsor Saudi Arabia financially and stop all arms exports there. It would also be worthwhile to advance the project of a Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East, which — based on the model of the détente policy of the OSCE in Cold War Europe — could be working on a new civil security architecture for the region.

The Afghanistan debacle should also be an occasion to question the enormous expansion of Western military budgets in recent years, which was justified not least of all by deployments abroad.

German military spending went up from € 40 billion to € 52 billion from 2015 to 2020, an increase of a whopping 30 percent. The U.S. military budget is at $ 778 billion, about 12 times of what Russia spends for its army. This money is urgently needed for tasks that really move the world forward, especially for countering the climate urgency and for a socio-ecological transition. The U.S.  military not only has a gloomy balance sheet in terms of peace policy, but is also THE largest greenhouse gas emitter on Earth. It is time for a slimming cure.

Fabian Scheidler is the author of “The End of the Megamachine. A Brief History of a Failing Civilization” (2019).  See more of his work on his website here. Follow him on Twitter: @ScheidlerFabian.

August 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

US nuclear policy reflects a hypocritical Cold War mindset

US nuclear policy reflects hypocrisy, Cold War mindset

By Jiang Tianjiao | China Daily | 2021-08-21 09:29  US arms control experts, including former secretary of defense William Perry, recently wrote to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, asking him to support the “no first use of nuclear weapons” policy the Joe Biden administration is likely to propose. But despite the good intentions of people like Perry, it is difficult to change the stubborn conservative thinking and offensive nuclear strategy of most US politicians.

After the end of the Cold War, the US nuclear arms control policy has undergone periodic fluctuations, but on the whole, it is still dominated by conservative forces not averse to fighting a nuclear war. In the 1990s, with the collapse of the bipolar world order, the Bill Clinton administration tried to promote arms control, but the conservative forces, using the possibility of some countries possessing weapons of mass destructions as a pretext, helped build an overwhelming public opinion against it………….

In its latest “Nuclear Posture Review Report”, the US not only called for a comprehensive upgrading of the nuclear arsenal, but also said that in case it faces a “major non-nuclear strategic attack”, it will actively respond with nuclear weapons.

Although the Democratic Party has always supported arms control, “first use of nuclear weapons” has become the politically correct strategic stance for the Biden administration for three key reasons.

First, the “first use of nuclear weapons” policy has become part of the strategic culture of the US. During the Cold War, the US prepared for a possible nuclear war with the Soviet Union and accordingly engaged in capacity-building. But even three decades after the end of the Cold War, the US is still preparing to fight and win a nuclear war. As such, it cannot give up the “first use” policy.

Second, the “first use of nuclear weapons” policy is the keystone of the US’ deterrence strategy and the basis of its global alliance system. Since the beginning of the Cold War, the US has provided its global allies with a nuclear umbrella. If it abandons its “first use” policy, it can no longer provide the nuclear umbrella for its allies, which would increase the possibility of nuclear proliferation among its allies such as Japan and the Republic of Korea and could eventually lead to the collapse of the US alliance system.

Third, the “first use of nuclear weapons” policy is what gives the US asymmetric advantages in any

strategic competition and conflict with another country. The US is also worried that rival countries could acquire asymmetric means, thanks to the rapid development of the new military technology, to launch sudden attacks against it………       The author is an assistant director of the Center for BRICS Studies, Fudan Development Institute.

August 23, 2021 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Top Westinghouse Nuclear Executive Charged with Conspiracy, Fraud

Top Westinghouse Nuclear Executive Charged with Conspiracy, Fraud in 16-Count Federal Indictment, Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s OfficeDistrict of South Carolina.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021.   Columbia, South Carolina — Acting United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina M. Rhett DeHart announced today that a Federal Grand Jury has charged former Westinghouse Electric Company Senior Vice President Jeffrey A. Benjamin for his role in failing to truthfully report information regarding construction of new nuclear units at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant.

Benjamin, who served as Senior Vice President for New Plants and Major Projects and directly supervised all new nuclear projects worldwide for Westinghouse during the V.C. Summer project, is charged in a federal indictment with sixteen felony counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud, and causing a publicly-traded company to keep a false record.  

The charges Benjamin faces carry a maximum of twenty years imprisonment and a $5,000,000 fine. 

The indictment alleges that Benjamin was personally involved in communications between Westinghouse and its owners, SCANA and Santee Cooper, regarding the status of the V.C. Summer project.  

The indictment further alleges that, throughout 2016 and into 2017, when Westinghouse had direct control over the construction and schedule of the project, Benjamin received information that the V.C. Summer units were materially behind schedule and over budget.  Nevertheless, at various times from September 2016 through March 2017, the indictment alleges that Benjamin assured the owners that the units would be completed on schedule and took active steps to conceal from the owners damaging information about the project schedule.  During this time period, the owners paid Westinghouse over $600,000,000 to construct the two V.C. Summer units, both of which were ultimately abandoned.

“Our commitment to investigate and prosecute the V.C. Summer nuclear debacle has never wavered,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DeHart.  “While the indictment – and the allegations contained within – speak for itself, it is further proof of our commitment to seek justice for South Carolina ratepayers and all others affected by the V.C. Summer project failure.”

“This indictment with its attendant allegations and charges is another step toward justice for all those responsible for the V.C. Summer nuclear plant fiasco,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Susan Ferensic.  “The FBI has devoted substantial resources to investigating this matter and will continue to work with the United States Attorney’s Office, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office to find facts and prove criminal conduct.”

Benjamin is the fourth individual to be charged in the ongoing federal investigation, stemming from the exhaustive and multi-year joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Former SCANA Chief Executive Officer Kevin Marsh, former SCANA Executive Vice President Stephen Byrne, and former Westinghouse Vice President Carl Churchman have all pleaded guilty to federal felony charges for their roles in the matter.

August 23, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Time to stop the bailout of America’s insanely expensive nuclear industry

The “problem” is obvious: the cost of operating and maintaining old nukes is skyrocketing. So is the cost of building new ones. The last two under construction in the US – in Georgia – have already doubled in cost (approaching $30 billion) and are still not open. If they ever do open (God help us!!!) the electricity they’d produce would be far more expensive than the wind turbines and solar panels that will surround them.

Stop the Insane Nuke Bailout, By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News, 21 August 21

uried deep in Joe Biden’s various infrastructure deals is a bailout every bit as insane as the original decision to stay in Afghanistan – up to $50 billion in handouts to keep old nuke reactors operating … at least until they blow up.

The cost of our arrogant lunacy in Afghanistan was thousands of lives and maybe $2 trillion.

The cost of the inevitable explosion at one or more of these crumbling jalopy nukes could be millions of lives and trillions in both destroyed property and an irradiated ecosphere.

Throughout the globe, the Solartopian technologies of wind, solar, batteries, and efficiency are skyrocketing in production while their prices plummet. But Biden’s proposed bailout would take a huge amount of capital away from clean, job producing renewables and put it into expensive, dangerous, obsolete reactors.

Richard Nixon in 1974 – amidst the Arab oil embargo – promised there’d be a thousand “Peaceful Atom” nukes in the US by the year 2000. In that year there were 104. Today there are 93, with the number still dropping – but not fast enough.

Every day these fast-deteriorating reactors become more likely to explode. Under the Price-Anderson Act of 1957, their owners are exempted from liability if their negligence lets a reactor carpet the American landscape with deadly radiation.

Because they’re not on the hook for the apocalypse they might cause, reactor owners have no particular incentive to expensively maintain these nukes as they sink into decrepitude. And thus the taxpayer and the individual citizen (YOU!) must absorb the cost of the meltdowns/explosions we all know are coming.

The rationale for the bailout is that aging atomic reactors – even ones long since amortized – cannot compete with the onslaught of renewables, batteries and efficiency. Allegedly, in our “free market capitalist” country, we all must compete. But when major corporate assets like nuke reactors can’t, apparently they must be bailed out.

The “problem” is obvious: the cost of operating and maintaining old nukes is skyrocketing. So is the cost of building new ones. The last two under construction in the US – in Georgia – have already doubled in cost (approaching $30 billion) and are still not open. If they ever do open (God help us!!!) the electricity they’d produce would be far more expensive than the wind turbines and solar panels that will surround them.

Indeed, from 2009 to 2019, the price for solar photovoltaic electricity dropped by 89%. For on-shore wind, it went down by 70%……….

The lengths to which the corporate dinosaurs will go to preserve these old reactors is astounding. The owners of two extremely decrepit and dangerous nukes on Lake Erie helped funnel a $61 million bribe to the Speaker of the Ohio House in exchange for a $1 billion ratepayer bailout (since repealed). Disgraced governor Andrew Cuomo helped shut two extremely dangerous old nukes at Indian Point, near Manhattan, but forced through $7.6 billion in handouts for four falling-apart upstate reactors, at least one of which the owner wanted to shut. Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois and other states are in various stages of bailout madness.

But now Biden wants to take the disease federal. The reactors he wants to save for $50 billion cannot compete with new wind or solar. They may temporarily sustain an aging, fast-retiring workforce. But they’ll create no new training or safe longterm employment for a rising Solartopian generation…………..

August 23, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Russian nuclear power plants insured for $27 billion

Russian nuclear power plants insured for $27 bln

The insurance case is recognized as loss, damage of insured property as a result of radiation impact, fire, lightning stroke, explosion, August 22. /TASS/ Rosenergoatom, a member of the electric power division of the Russian state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom, will ensure all domestic nuclear power plants (NPP) against catastrophic risks for 2 trillion rubles ($27 bln). Sogaz became the winning bidder according to minutes of the meeting of the procurement board, posted on the government procurement website.Rosenergoatom will pay the insurance premium of 3 bln rubles ($40.5 mln) to the insurer.

“All the property to be accounted as fixed assets” of Rosenergoatom’s nuclear power plants is registered under the insurance agreement, according to the posted draft agreement.

The insurance case is recognized as loss, damage of insured property as a result of radiation impact, fire, lightning stroke, explosion, crash of piloted aircraft, their parts or cargo, earthquake, volcanic eruption, hurricane, whirlwind, storm, typhoon and other natural disasters, unlawful acts of third parties, terrorism, sabotage, machinery and equipment failures and cyberrisks. The insurance will be valid from September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2023.

August 23, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Russia | Leave a comment

Greenham Common’s renowned Women’s Peace Camp, the world’s longest-running anti-nuclear demonstration

  Greenham Common 40 years on – when ordinary women drove nuclear weapons
out of UK. Three Welsh protesters reveal what they learnt after being part
of the renowned Women’s Peace Camp, the world’s longest-running
anti-nuclear demonstration, forty years ago in Berkshire.

   Mirror 21st Aug 2021

August 23, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK, Women | Leave a comment

Secretive process of Allerdale Working Group studying potential dump sites for UK’s vast stockpile of nuclear waste

 Allerdale Working Group met behind closed doors in July and decided which
parts of Allerdale may become the burial site for the UK’s vast stockpile
of nuclear waste.

Cumbria Trust was refused permission to be involved in
the site selection, and Allerdale Working Group is still refusing to reveal
its choice to us as that’s how the rules of the process have been
arbitrarily defined.

The similarities with the previous failed process,
MRWS, are clear. When the geological screening report didn’t produce the
outcome they would have preferred, they supressed it, only to release an
amended version 3 months later in which the Solway Plain had switched from
excluded to included. As with the current process, these meetings and
deliberations were hidden from the public gaze.

 Cumbria Trust 21st Aug 2021

August 23, 2021 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

NRC respond’s to New Mexico’s legal bid to stop Holtec’s planned nuclear waste dump

NRC: Court lacks authority in New Mexico lawsuit against nuclear waste site, Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus 20 Aug 21.   A proposal to build a temporary nuclear waste storage site near Carlsbad and Hobbs drew a lawsuit against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the agency tasked with permitting the facility, from the State of New Mexico which sought to block the project.

In a Monday filing, the NRC asked the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico to dismiss the State’s lawsuit due to lack of jurisdiction.

The State alleged in the suit that the NRC acted illegally in issuing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Holtec project that found the site would have minimal environmental impact and recommended a permit be granted.

Citing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas argued federal law stipulated a permanent repository be available before an interim storage site, like Holtec’s, could be permitted.

But the NRC argued that in the State’s suit, Balderas ignored the NRC’s authority to issue licenses for nuclear facilities as designated in the Atomic Energy Act (AEA), that allows challenges to licenses applications be raised in the U.S Court of Appeals which New Mexico failed to do.

The NRC argued U.S. District Court was the wrong venue for New Mexico to appeal the decision under the AEA and that the case should be before the U.S. Court of Appeals………..

State leaders cited the alleged risk the project, proposed by Holtec International, would pose to the environment and public safety should it be allowed to operate, along with concerns that it could become permanent as no such repository existed and potential incidents when transporting the waste into New Mexico.

Holtec first applied for a license from the NRC in 2017 to build the facility that would ultimately store up to 100,000 spent nuclear fuel rods on the surface at a location near the Eddy-Lea county line while a permanent repository was developed.

Such a repository does not yet exist, so the Holtec site would see the high-level nuclear waste brought into the remote area in southeast New Mexico via rail from nuclear power plants and facilities across the country to be held temporarily at the site known as consolidated interim storage facility (CISF).

A similar project was also amidst an NRC licensing process in Andrews, Texas, near the New Mexico-Texas state line for another company Interim Storage partners which so far received favorable reviews from the agency with a final decision expected later this year.

Upon announcing the lawsuit against the NRC to block Holtec’s project Balderas sought an injunction to block the licensing process.

He said the project would bring an unnecessary risk to the local communities near the site and along its transportation routes, along with economic drivers like oil and gas extraction and agriculture in the region.

“I am taking legal action because I want to mitigate dangers to our environment and to other energy sectors,” Balderas said. “It is fundamentally unfair for our residents to bear the risks of open ended uncertainty

August 23, 2021 Posted by | Legal, USA, wastes | Leave a comment