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Small nuclear reactors lead the great mindless nuclear-war-mongering juggernaut – theme for December 21

The ”juggernaut” is an imaginary evil chariot, a giant, powerful, violent unstoppable force, crushing all in its path, (wrongly connected to a Hindu belief).

Of all the threats to our home planet, the only one to sustain life, only the nuclear threat could be stopped by human action. But human action is now dominated by the nuclear and weapons industry juggernaut– that ”military-industrial -complex” that controls big macho-men governments.

The mask of ”peaceful” nuclear power is off. If nuclear was ever useful for energy and climate – it is no longer.

So – what do the nuclear lobby wizards come up with?

Small nuclear reactors and the pretense that they could have any effect on climate. No, Virginia, their one and only use is to keep the nuclear industry alive. Thus the nuclear weapons industry can more easily pass their costs on to tax-payers, convince nuclear executives and workers that they’re doing something beneficial, and the rest of us – that governments are ”looking after us;”.

But governments are looking after the military-industrial complex, as it leads on to nuclear war, – on land, under the sea, and in space. And the small nuclear reactors are leading the war-mongering nuclear juggernaut


November 30, 2021 Posted by | Christina's themes | 9 Comments

COP 26 agreement that energy efficiency investments needed for at least half of the investments needed to stall global heating.

The formal Pact, agreed at COP26, explicitly calls upon all governments to accelerate the adoption of policies “rapidly scaling up … energy efficiency measures”. This complements the International Energy Agency’s conclusions that around half the investments needed to deliver net zero by 2050 will need to be achieved via improved energy efficiency.

Andrew Warren examines the publication of the UK Government’s long-postponed “Heat and
Buildings Strategy”. He says the mantra of fabric first seems to have disappeared. He concludes that the strategy proffers no serious strategy at all to improve the energy performance of (in particular) the English building stock. Given the UK’s hosting of COP26, this dereliction of ambition will need to be rectified by no later than COP 27 next November in Egypt.

 Energy in Buildings & Industry magazine (not available yet) 28th Nov 2021

November 30, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Fact check: Is nuclear energy good for the climate? 

proponents of nuclear energy “fail to take into account many factors,” including those sources of emissions outlined. All the studies reviewed by DW said the same thing: Nuclear power is not emissions-free.

Every dollar invested in nuclear energy is therefore a dollar diverted from true urgent climate action. In that sense, nuclear power is not climate-friendly”

Fact check: Is nuclear energy good for the climate?  DW 29 Nov 21, Supporters of nuclear energy say it can help us wean our economies off polluting fossil fuels. No surprise, it’s a heated issue. But what about the facts? Can nuclear power really help save the climate?

…………..  In recent weeks, particularly during the COP26 climate summit, advocates have been creating a stir online with statements like “if you’re against nuclear energy, you’re against climate protection” and “nuclear energy is about to make a comeback.” But is there anything to it?

Is nuclear power a zero-emissions energy source?

No. Nuclear energy is also responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, no energy source is completely free of emissions, but more on that later.

When it comes to nuclear, uranium extraction, transport and processing produces emissions. The long and complex construction process of nuclear power plants also releases CO2, as does the demolition of decommissioned sites. And, last but not least, nuclear waste also has to be transported and stored under strict conditions — here, too, emissions must be taken into account.

And yet, interest groups claim nuclear energy is emission-free. Among them is Austrian consulting firm ENCO. In late 2020, it released a study prepared for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy that looked favorably at the possible future role of nuclear in the Netherlands.

“The main factors for its choice were reliability and security of supply, with no CO2 emission,” it read. ENCO was founded by experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency, and it regularly works with stakeholders in the nuclear sector, so it’s not entirely free of vested interests.

At COP26, environmental initiative Scientists for Future (S4F) presented a paper on nuclear energy and the climate. The group came to a very different conclusion. “Taking into account the current overall energy system, nuclear energy is by no means CO2 neutral,” they said. 

Ben Wealer of the Technical University of Berlin, one of the report’s authors, told DW that proponents of nuclear energy “fail to take into account many factors,” including those sources of emissions outlined above. All the studies reviewed by DW said the same thing: Nuclear power is not emissions-free.

How much CO2 does nuclear power produce?

Results vary significantly, depending on whether we only consider the process of electricity generation, or take into account the entire life cycle of a nuclear power plant. A report released in 2014 by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for example, estimated a range of 3.7 to 110 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

It’s long been assumed that nuclear plants generate an average of 66 grams of CO2/kWh — though Wealer believes the actual figure is much higher. New power plants, for example, generate more CO2 during construction than those built in previous decades, due to stricter safety regulations.

Studies that include the entire life cycle of nuclear power plants, from uranium extraction to nuclear waste storage, are rare, with some researchers pointing out that data is still lacking. In one life cycle study, the Netherlands-based World Information Service on Energy (WISE) calculated that nuclear plants produce 117 grams of CO2 emissions per kilowatt-hour. It should be noted, however, that WISE is an anti-nuclear group, so is not entirely unbiased.

However, other studies have come up with similar results when considering entire life cycles. Mark Z. Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere / Energy Program at California’s Stanford University, calculated a climate cost of 68 to 180 grams of CO2/kWh, depending on the electricity mix used in uranium production and other variables.

How climate-friendly is nuclear compared to other energies?

If the entire life cycle of a nuclear plant is included in the calculation, nuclear energy certainly comes out ahead of fossil fuels like coal or natural gas. But the picture is drastically different when compared with renewable energy.

According to new but still unpublished data from the state-run German Environment Agency (UBA) as well as the WISE figures, nuclear power releases 3.5 times more CO2 per kilowatt-hour than photovoltaic solar panel systems. Compared with onshore wind power, that figure jumps to 13 times more CO2. When up against electricity from hydropower installations, nuclear generates 29 times more carbon.

Could we rely on nuclear energy to help stop global warming?

…………..  “The contribution of nuclear energy is viewed too optimistically,”   Wealer from Berlin’s Technical University  said. “In reality, [power plant] construction times are too long and the costs too high to have a noticeable effect on climate change. It takes too long for nuclear energy to become available.”

Mycle Schneider, author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, agrees.

Nuclear power plants are about four times as expensive as wind or solar, and take five times as long to build,” he said. “When you factor it all in, you’re looking at 15-to-20 years of lead time for a new nuclear plant.”

He pointed out that the world needed to get greenhouse gases under control within a decade. “And in the next 10 years, nuclear power won’t be able to make a significant contribution,” added Schneider. 

Nuclear power is not being considered at the current time as one of the key global solutions to climate change,” said Antony Froggatt, deputy director of the environment and society program at the international affairs think tank Chatham House in London.

He said a combination of excessive costs, environmental consequences and lack of public support were all arguments against nuclear power.

Nuclear funding could go toward renewables

Due to the high costs associated with nuclear energy, it also blocks important financial resources that could instead be used to develop renewable energy, said Jan Haverkamp, a nuclear expert and activist with environment NGO Greenpeace in the Netherlands. Those renewables would provide more energy that is both faster and cheaper than nuclear, he said.

Every dollar invested in nuclear energy is therefore a dollar diverted from true urgent climate action. In that sense, nuclear power is not climate-friendly,” he said.

In addition, nuclear energy itself has been affected by climate change. During the world’s increasingly hot summers, several nuclear power plants have already had to be temporarily shut down or taken off the grid. Power plants depend on nearby water sources to cool their reactors, and with many rivers drying up, those sources of water are no longer guaranteed.

The much vaunted “renaissance of nuclear power” is anything but when all the facts are taken into consideration, Mycle Schneider told DW. He said the nuclear industry has been shrinking for years.

“In the last 20 years, 95 nuclear power plants have gone online and 98 have been shut down. If you take China out of the equation, the number of nuclear power plants has shrunk by 50 reactors in the last two decades,” Schneider added. “The nuclear industry is not thriving.”

November 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Design flaw: the incident that shut down China’s EPR nuclear station could happen to other EPR reactors.

The type of incident that caused a reactor shutdown at Taishan plant could happen to other plants. The incident in the Chinese reactor last June is believed to be due to a design flaw in the reactor vessel.

The incident which led in July to the shutdown of a reactor at the EPR nuclear power plant in Taishan (China) is believed to be due to a fault in the design of the vessel, the Independent Research and Information Commission said on Saturday (November 27th) on radioactivity (CRIIRAD) which warns against the risk of an identical problem on other EPRs.

An association created in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, CRIIRAD wrote on Saturday to the management of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) to share this information with it, which it says it has from a “whistleblower”. “This is a French person who works in the nuclear industry, having access to very precise technical information on the situation of the Taishan 1 reactor core,” said
Bruno Chareyron, director of the CRIIRAD laboratory.

 Sud Ouest 28th Nov 2021

November 30, 2021 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear risks are laid bare by COVID-19

Nuclear risks are laid bare by COVID-19,

the prioritization of deterrence operations in these circumstances—and the emphasis on conveying this to the public—is fundamentally disquieting. In some circles, there is a call for a reckoning with the massive costs associated with nuclear modernization programs, ever more noticeable with the health sector buckling under extreme pressure.

Wilfred Wan |Researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) 11 june 2020,

Maintaining deterrence postures has emerged as a key security challenge in the era of COVID-19. In recent weeks, officials in more than one nuclear-armed State have reassured their publics about the viability of their nuclear arsenals. A spokesperson for the UK Royal Navy noted “all required outputs are being maintained” at Faslane, home to Britain’s deterrent, following reports of personnel self-isolating. French submarine crews may not even be informed of the COVID-19 situation, according to their Naval spokesperson. The US Air Force Chief of Staff claimed in a press briefing no change to their nuclear deterrence operations. Similarly, the head of US Strategic Command stressed the pandemic had “no impact to our ability to accomplish our (deterrence) mission.”

Claims of ‘business as usual’ invite scepticism. The machinery of nuclear weapons complexes may be relatively immune from the pandemic, but the people that service them are not. Risk of transmission is especially great in the confined spaces like submarines, bombers, and missile silos that military personnel operate in. For instance, there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 at every nuclear base in the United States except one. Changes by now familiar to the working world are impacting military operations too: virtual teleconferencing, minimized on-site contact, identification of mission-critical tasks; with resources drawn from areas deemed inessential to the deterrence mission. The commander of the US Air Force Global Strike Command noted, “You’ll train a little less, but you can keep training; you can do maintenance, but you don’t have to do as much maintenance.” This is not business as usual.

There should be concern that shifting resources from tasks seen as inessential now could have safety implications down the line. Technical malfunction and human fallibility have featured across the known history of nuclear weapons programs, resulting in false alarms, accidents, and near misses. The US program, about which there exists the most declassified information, experienced a number of ‘broken arrow’ incidents during the Cold War such as missile explosions, aircraft collisions, and even the inadvertent release of nuclear weapons. The longer pandemic-containing measures are in force, the more the militaries of nuclear-armed States will face tough operational choices—choices that bear on nuclear risk.

Meanwhile, the prioritization of deterrence operations in these circumstances—and the emphasis on conveying this to the public—is fundamentally disquieting. In some circles, there is a call for a reckoning with the massive costs associated with nuclear modernization programs, ever more noticeable with the health sector buckling under extreme pressure. Beyond economics, continued reliance on nuclear weapons feels anachronistic as today’s threats are increasingly non-traditional, taking shape in cyber offensive operations or hybrid warfare, and adversaries harder to identify, with their motivations, doctrines, and capabilities varied and complex. Security, as COVID-19 underlines, has evolved. It is hard to hit many of these kinds of nails with the nuclear hammer.

Revitalizing nuclear arms control and disarmament is the only means to eliminate the lingering spectre of nuclear war. Given geopolitical tension, however, a critical short-term goal is to enhance understanding of that risk coming to fruition, intentionally or inadvertently. Proper assessment of the risk of nuclear weapon use is a prerequisite to reducing that risk. The veil of secrecy that has long surrounded nuclear weapons management must be lifted enough to ensure proper regulation, oversight, and accountability, including in all the processes linked to the deterrence ‘mission’. Enhanced use of notifications, signalling, and crisis communication channels, meanwhile, can lessen the likelihood that the mission itself will fail, especially in these extraordinary times.

In the meantime, preserving central control over nuclear arsenals during this and any other time is infinitely preferable to most alternatives. But even control cannot be taken for granted. The possibility of human failure in nuclear operations may well be higher with non-routine rotations and altered schedules of personnel. The hospitalization of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for COVID-19 in April underlines the permeability of nuclear command and control at even the highest levels. The state of nuclear normalcy and perceived safety and security States are working so hard to uphold is far more fragile than they are willing to admit.

This is not to say that nuclear-armed States cannot effectively maintain their deterrent postures during this difficult period. But for some time now, experts and many governments have become increasingly concerned about nuclear misperception and miscalculation in an environment marked by worsening great power relations (and more so if the US and China continue their blame game over the pandemic). COVID-19 is a further wake-up call. There is no substitute for the easing of tensions and resumption of stockpile reductions. Nevertheless, States must do more to reduce the risk of any use of nuclear weapons. So long as nuclear weapons exist, the possibility remains. This is business as usual.

November 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, safety | Leave a comment

The nuclear consequences of cyber vulnerabilities

The nuclear consequences of cyber vulnerabilities, Wilfred Wan |Researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), 29 Nov 21,

recent report about a massive cyber surveillance campaign allegedly conducted by Russian intelligence against US government agencies reflects disturbing trends in cyberspace. The number of reported data breaches in 2021 is on pace to set a record, with government entities constituting the most targeted sector, and global supply chains increasingly impacted. The planning and sophistication that characterizes some of these operations in recent years also suggest more frequent State-level involvement, underlining the fact that cyber—or information security—capabilities increasingly constitute part of national strategic toolkits.

Operations in cyberspace have also targeted elements of the nuclear weapons enterprise across states. Recent known cases include the discovery in December 2020 of  “long duration activity” against the US National Nuclear Security Administration (responsible for the management of the US stockpile), and in April 2021 of operations against a firm linked to the design of Russian nuclear submarines. In neither instance was there any indication that functions related to nuclear weapons systems were impacted.

Yet these revelations should heighten concerns beyond the states targeted, as the existence of these operations could have implications for potential nuclear weapon use. Cyber operations of the kind cited are unlikely to cause detonation events directly. Yet operations that successfully interact with nuclear forces can undermine states’ confidence in their nuclear deterrence capability or credibility, which can trigger forceful military response and even prompt ‘use it or lose it’ nuclear dilemmas. The clearest path to this end involves intrusions into weapons systems themselves. This is not far-fetched. In limited testing with “relatively simple tools and techniques”, the US Department of Defense in 2018 “routinely found mission-critical cyber vulnerabilities” in their weapons systems under development. Other nuclear-armed states are likely to be similarly vulnerable.

Other infringements on deterrence include cyber operations that impact nuclear command, control, and communication. Increased digitalization is likely to create new vulnerabilities, exacerbated by reliance on the supply chain. Even systems isolated from the internet can be compromised. The militarization of cyberspace—and a legacy of Cold War electronic warfare — also raises the possibility that adversaries could now induce the kind of malfunctions (such as erroneous warnings in early warning systems) that in the past have fuelled several nuclear ‘close calls’. Additionally, cyber operations that amplify conventional capabilities to evade radar and air or missile defence may increase nuclear force vulnerability, real or perceived.

The reason why such intrusions may escalate to a scale even beyond the intentions of perpetrators centres on a lack of clarity around so-called cyber ‘red lines’. Several nuclear-armed states have acknowledged the possibility of escalation linked to the cyber domain, or in their nuclear doctrines open the door to use in response to cyber operations. Further precision on thresholds is generally absent, with deliberate ambiguity held in service of deterrence credibility. Yet notions of achievable strategic stability are undermined by the secretive nature of cyber operations, the many potential points of entry for cyber operations, and context-dependent concepts such as ‘critical infrastructure’. Cyber-nuclear interactions open the door for misperception, miscalculation, or misunderstanding.

Reducing cyber-nuclear risks requires preventing interactions between cyber operations and nuclear forces; it also requires mitigating the consequences of interactions when they do take place. Developments in cyber space suggest the potential development of voluntary ‘rules of the road’ that can support the former. Last month the US and Russia submitted a joint resolution to the UN General Assembly (co-sponsored by 104 States) on responsible behaviour in cyberspace. Cyberspace policy also features in ongoing US-Russia strategic stability talks; President Biden in June 2021 had provided President Putin a list of critical infrastructure sectors meant to be “off-limits” from cyber operations. Such negotiations of State behaviours would be significant but would only address part of the risk picture.

It is incumbent on nuclear-armed states to strengthen the cyber security of their weapons and related systems and to elaborate standards across the entirety of their supply chains. Dialogue among nuclear-armed and nuclear-allied states can inform common understandings of risk perceptions, and chip away at the ambiguity around red lines. States can also look to establish guard rails through the conflict-prevention toolkit. In fact, information exchange around cyber military exercises, memorandums of understanding on engagement with communications and radar systems, and political declarations that nuclear command and control lies outside cyber bounds can build a foundation for formal agreements down the line.

Cyber-nuclear interactions are likely to increase given trends in the militarisation of the cyber domain and the digitalisation of nuclear weapons systems. The secrecy across both domains presents significant challenges: not only in their regulation but also to underlining the urgency of the situation and creating the prerequisite momentum for such action. After all, the cyber equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis is unlikely to ever play out in public. Yet the very real risk of cyber-nuclear interactions driving inadvertent nuclear war should provide ready incentive for immediate action.

Wilfred Wan is the co-author of a new UNIDIR report on The Cyber-Nuclear Nexus: Interactions and Risks.   

November 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, safety, technology | Leave a comment

 At the Global Alliance of Leaders for Nuclear Security and Nuclear-Weapons-Free World (GAL) meeting, Nursultan Nazarbayev proposes  Global Forum on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament

Nazarbayev proposed to launch the Global Forum on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament

Astana Club , Nov 29, 2021, NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan, Nov. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Global Alliance of Leaders for Nuclear Security and Nuclear-Weapons-Free World (GAL) was held on the platform of the VI meeting of the Astana Club in the capital of Kazakhstan.

Addressing the members of the GAL, Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that negotiations on nuclear strategic stability on inter-state level are facing a stalemate, and there is a strong need for an alternative form of dialogue on this issue.

To break this deadlock, Mr. Nazarbayev proposed to set up the Global Forum on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament in the capital of Kazakhstan.

Forum should bring together all key international NGOs and world moral authorities in the anti-nuclear field to forge a unified global agenda.

In his statement Nazarbayev also called on the world community to develop a step-by-step Plan for a comprehensive reduction of strategic offensive arms with the participation of all nuclear states under the auspices of the UN.

Nazarbayev expressed confidence that the GAL can become the central platform and driving force in the development of this document.

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also addressed the Alliance members with the support of the Nazarbayev’s initiative and noted that without the elimination of the nuclear threat, the world community will never be able to guarantee its security.

The address of the former President of the USSR, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev to Nursultan Nazarbayev and members of the Alliance became a significant moment at the GAL session.

Mr. Gorbachev expressed his full support for the initiative of the First President of Kazakhstan to establish GAL, noting that “there can be no other final goal than a world without nuclear weapons.”

He also noted that the meeting of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in June this year in Geneva marked a positive trend. According to Gorbachev, it is extremely important that the meeting of two presidents reiterated the idea that there will be no winners in a nuclear war,” which was first voiced in 1985 at his meeting with US President Ronald Reagan.

The meeting of GAL was also attended by the leaders of the global anti-nuclear movement such as Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mohamed ElBaradei and ICAN Executive Director, Beatrice Fihn, as well as former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and UN Under-Secretary-General Angela Kane, and many others.

All the meeting participants unanimously acknowledged that Kazakhstan, which voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth largest nuclear military arsenal of 1,200 atomic warheads in 1990s, has the full moral right to undertake such global anti-nuclear initiatives.

This year’s GAL meeting refers to the Doomsday Clock, the symbol of likelihood of nuclear war – One Minute to Midnight: Time for Action for the Nuclear Dialogue. This is because at the beginning of 2021, the Doomsday Clock moved the closest it has ever been in its history since 1947: 100 seconds to midnight.

Nursultan Nazarbayev.

GAL’s mission is to provide impetus to the anti-nuclear agenda through the joint efforts of the leaders of major international NGOs, well-known politicians, and world moral authorities in the anti-nuclear field.

In 2020, GAL’s Open Call to world leaders to demand the need for strengthening joint efforts on nuclear safety, non-proliferation and disarmament was registered as an official document of the UN and the IAEA.

To date, the GAL is supported by over seventy prominent international figures, including politicians, experts, and Nobel Peace Prize laureates..   

November 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Kazakhstan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Design flaw could explain problem at EDF’s Chinese nuclear plant

Design flaw could explain problem at EDF’s Chinese nuclear plant-NGO  PARIS, Nov 29 (Reuters) – A design flaw in the reactor pressure vessel could be the cause of a problem that was made public in June at French company EDF’s jointly-owned nuclear power plant in China, a French non-governmental organisation said, quoting a whistleblower.

November 30, 2021 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

Guarded optimism among Western diplomats, as Iran nuclear talks progress in Vienna.

Progress in Iran nuclear talks as Tehran agrees to discuss compliance

Western diplomats express guarded optimism after first day of negotiations in Vienna, Guardian,   Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editorTue 30 Nov 21,  Western diplomats have expressed guarded optimism and relief after the first day of resumed Iran nuclear talks in Vienna made unexpected progress when Tehran formally agreed to discuss steps to come back into compliance with the 2015 agreement.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Enrique Mora, said Iran had agreed that the talks could resume largely where they had ended in June, rather than with an entirely new agenda.

There had been fears that Iran’s new harder-line administration, elected in June, would rip up the progress made in the first round of talks and insist the sole legitimate issue for discussion was the list of economic sanctions that the US must lift.

Mora said: “There was a sense of urgency to bring an end to the sanctions and the suffering of the Iranian people … “The Iranian delegation recognises the work we have done in the past six rounds and the fact that we will build on this work going ahead.”

The Russian ambassador to the talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, also described the opening of the talks as successful.

Ali Bagheri, the new Iranian chief negotiator, said he was optimistic, but that he was looking for a US guarantee that it would not only lift a swath of economic sanctions but also promise not to reimpose them in the future.

The talks are due to last at least two further days, with Tuesday dedicated to negotiating the sanctions that will be lifted on the basis that they are linked to the nuclear agreement, and were not imposed due to continuing Iranian human rights abuses or terrorist activity. There are still differences between the two sides on how to classify sanctions.

Iran has also agreed that on Wednesday it will discuss the steps it would need to take to come back into compliance with the agreement. Iran regarded the sequencing of the discussion as significant.

After Donald Trump took the US out of the deal in 2018, Iran responded by taking a series of reversible but escalating steps that breached the agreement’s terms, including stockpiling enriched uranium and stepping up use of advanced centrifuges at sites to which UN nuclear inspectors say they do not have full access.

The talks are between Iran, Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK. The US is excluded from direct negotiations by Iran, but its delegation in Vienna is being consulted on each Iranian offer.

Although there is a mood of optimism, at least in contrast to the gloom leading up to the talks, many hurdles remain to an agreement and there is still a suspicion in some western capitals that Iran is playing for time as it develops its nuclear technology…………….

Israel is isolated in the Middle East to the extent that the Gulf states now follow the US lead in accepting that a revival of the nuclear deal would be good for stability in the region. But that isolation may prove temporary if the talks do not manage to make any progress.

November 30, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

France’s Foreign Minister in Indonesia, raises concerns about AUKUS, nuclear submarines, and risks of weapons proliferation.

the theme of ‘betrayal’ in terms of both being ‘cheated’ out of a deal and being deceived by NATO allies and, in Australia’s case, a historical ally.

AUKUS was about ‘pressing a sense of confrontation with China’

if tomorrow Australia has some nuclear-powered submarines, why not, some other countries could ask for similar technology, it could be Indonesia, why not?’

Australia needs an entente cordiale with Indonesia over nuclear propulsion and non-proliferation, The Strategist, 29 Nov 2021, |David Engel  However relaxed and comfortable Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto might be about Australia’s plans to acquire nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs), the visit to Jakarta of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has probably validated the very different view of Le Drian’s counterpart, Retno Marsudi.

…………………………………………….  the most striking moment of the visit came during Le Drian’s address to Indonesia’s leading international affairs think tank, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). While his speech focused on issues such as multilateralism and the EU’s position on the Indo-Pacific, his response to a question on ‘minilateralism’—specifically, AUKUS and the Quad—took on a very different tone.

Ignoring the Quad, he levelled his remarks at AUKUS, stressing four points. The first two reiterated the theme of ‘betrayal’ in terms of both being ‘cheated’ out of a deal and being deceived by NATO allies and, in Australia’s case, a historical ally. He talked about American efforts to restore trust through various US commitments to France. He didn’t mention Australia in this context.

More significantly, his third point was that AUKUS was about ‘pressing a sense of confrontation with China’ (as the simultaneous translation put it). He said that, while France was not oblivious to China’s military threats and risks, he believed that the best way to respond to these threats was to ‘develop an alternative model rather than to first of all oppose’.

Perhaps his most significant point for Australian interests was his fourth, which went to the transfer of nuclear technology for submarine propulsion. He pointed out that until now no nuclear-weapon state had done this. But ‘if tomorrow Australia has some nuclear-powered submarines, why not, some other countries could ask for similar technology, it could be Indonesia, why not?’ He continued that, even though this technology was not covered by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the risk the arrangement posed of starting a trend was nonetheless of concern.

Irrespective of Le Drian’s intentions in answering the question in this manner—and it’s noteworthy that he didn’t cover AUKUS in his formal address—he would surely have known that his words would resonate powerfully with his audience, both at CSIS and more generally among Indonesia’s foreign policy establishment. While his depiction of Australia as duplicitous was evidently personal and heartfelt, it would also have struck a chord with those Indonesians who have characterised Canberra the same way over such issues as East Timor, Papua and spying allegations, irrespective of how justified that judgement might be.

Le Drian’s last point went directly to concerns about nuclear proliferation—issues that Indonesia highlighted in its official statement on AUKUS and the planned submarines. It corresponds closely ‘in spirit’ with subsequent official commentary to the effect that Indonesia was considering advocating a change to the NPT aimed at preventing non-nuclear-weapon states from acquiring SSNs………

 whoever governs in Canberra now and into the future should at least make a priority of assuaging Jakarta’s worries on this subject, however overstated and unbalanced they are. While Indonesia’s prospects of changing the NPT and precluding Australia from having SSNs look remote at best—not least because several of its ASEAN colleagues do not share its views of Australia’s ambitions—the sooner the two countries can put this latest irritant to rest the better.

In the circumstances, the onus for doing so must primarily rest with Canberra………

November 30, 2021 Posted by | Indonesia, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian government using a loophole to evade international non-proliferation treaties, to get nuclear submarines?

“interesting interpretation” that the government would try to qualify for an exemption from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspection regime by claiming military submarines, which will be fuelled with weapons grade uranium, are for peaceful purposes.”

Labor questions whether nuclear subs breach international law,   AFR,  Andrew Tillett, Political correspondent, 30 Nov 21,  Labor MPs have raised concerns about Australia breaching its non-proliferation obligations under the Morrison government’s plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines from Britain and the United States.

Parliament’s Treaties Committee has begun a snap inquiry into the first element under the AUKUS deal, an agreement between the three countries to allow the sharing of highly classified nuclear technology with Australian officials.

The nuclear agreement also covers training opportunities for Australian submariners and technicians with the British and American programs.

Under the AUKUS pact, the government will acquire up to eight nuclear-powered submarines, promising they will be built in Adelaide. The first is due to be delivered sometime before 2040.

The government is adamant the nuclear submarine deal will not be a precursor to acquiring nuclear weapons.

The inquiry is due to report by December 17 but at its first hearing on Monday, Labor MP Josh Wilson highlighted significant uncertainty over the government’s plan to use a loophole in the international nuclear safety regime, which had never been used before, to acquire the submarines.

Mr Wilson and fellow Labor MP Peter Khalil grilled officials from the Defence, Foreign Affairs and Attorney-General’s departments over how Australia could acquire nuclear-powered submarines while still complying with its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Training ‘needs to start now’

Mr Wilson said it was an “interesting interpretation” that the government would try to qualify for an exemption from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspection regime by claiming military submarines, which will be fuelled with weapons grade uranium, are for peaceful purposes.

“If it was determined that was acceptable, we will have broken new ground in weakening the existing non-proliferation regime,” Mr Wilson observed………..

November 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK and Israel pledge to stop Iran gaining nuclear weapons

UK and Israel pledge to stop Iran gaining nuclear weapons

Israeli FM Yair Lapid visits London and Paris to discuss Iran, as talks on the 2015 nuclear deal restart in Vienna. Aljazeera, 29 Nov 21,

The United Kingdom and Israel will “work night and day” in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power, the foreign ministers of the two countries wrote in a joint article.

“The clock is ticking, which heightens the need for close cooperation with our partners and friends to thwart Tehran’s ambitions,” the UK’s Liz Truss and her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid wrote in The Telegraph newspaper on Sunday.

Lapid arrived in London on Sunday for a two-day trip to the UK and France, a day before talks on Iran’s nuclear programme restart in Vienna.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said earlier in the day that his country was “very worried” that world powers will remove sanctions on Iran in exchange for insufficient caps on its nuclear programme, as negotiators convene in Vienna on Monday in a last-ditch effort to salvage a nuclear deal…………………..

November 30, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

UN chief calls for nuclear weapons-free Middle East

UN chief calls for nuclear weapons-free Middle East,  UN News,  The UN Secretary-General on Monday called on all Middle East States to transform the vision of a region with no nuclear weapons, or other weapons of mass destruction, into a working reality.   

Antonio Guterres was speaking in New York at the second session of the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction.  

Since 1967, five such zones have been established around the world: Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa and Central Asia. They include 60 per cent of all UN Member States and cover almost all of the Southern Hemisphere.   

For the Secretary-General, expanding such zones would help build a safer world.   

“That is particularly the case in the Middle East, where concerns over nuclear programmes persist, and where conflicts and civil wars are causing widespread civilian casualties and suffering, undermining stability and disrupting social and economic development”, Mr. Guterres explained.  

The UN chief also reiterated his call for all parties to exercise restraint and avoid escalation. 

In this context, he highlighted the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as Iran Nuclear Deal, saying that the return to dialogue is “an important step.” ……….

November 30, 2021 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China puts forward proposals as Iran nuclear talks resume

China puts forward four proposals as Iran nuclear talks resume
CGTN  China welcomes the resumption of talks about the Iran nuclear deal and has made four proposals in the hope of pushing forward the negotiation process, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters on Monday…….

Reiterating China’s support for a diplomatic settlement, Wang put forward four proposals.

First, the U.S. is the initiator of the Iran nuclear crisis, Wang said, urging the U.S. to lift sanctions against Iran and third-party entities and individuals. On this basis, Iran should fully resume its nuclear commitments. Neither party should impose any other conditions for this, Wang said.

Second, all parties should respect each other’s legitimate rights and concerns, Wang said, calling on relevant parties to uphold the principle of mutual respect and win-win cooperation so as to promote regional peace and stability.

The legitimate rights and interests of parties involved in economic and trade cooperation with Iran should be respected, added Wang.Third, the spokesperson called for a pragmatic and flexible negotiation strategy and encouraged all parties to use their political wisdom and settle the issue through equal consultation.China supports pushing forward the negotiation based on the previous consensuses, he noted.Fourth, Wang stressed that all parties should stay committed to a political settlement of the issue, and stay restrained and rational to maintain the negotiation process…….

November 30, 2021 Posted by | China, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry handouts to universities continue

Duke Energy Gives $150K of Nuclear Scholarships to SC State

Duke Energy is giving a historically Black South Carolina university $150,000 in scholarships to help train and educate new nuclear engineers. U.S. News  By Associated Press|Nov. 29, 2021,    ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) — Duke Energy is giving a historically Black South Carolina university $150,000 in scholarships to help train and educate new nuclear engineers.

South Carolina State University said that money will provide about 15 scholarships over three years in its nuclear engineering program, which is the only undergraduate one of its kind in the state, interim university President Alexander Conyers said…. ..

November 30, 2021 Posted by | Education, USA | Leave a comment