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This week’s nuclear news – much about climate

Well. it’s all about climate this week.  Not much mention of reducing energy use, energy conservation etc – even though this would be the cheapest, quickest and most effective measure to slow down global heating.

My pick: top stories of the week Too expensive, too slow: Even the baseload argument doesn’t work for nuclear. The push for nuclear power in space.      Hidden agenda: Will COP26 let nuclear power in the door and, if so, why?

Another example of climate change damaging the nuclear industry –jellyfish increase clogging up cooling systems of reactors

Too expensive, too slow: Even the baseload argument doesn’t work for nuclear.

CLIMATE.    World is failing to make changes needed to avoid climate breakdown, report finds. The myth of “newer, safer, less expensive” nuclear power to fix the climate. Hidden agenda: Will COP26 let nuclear power in the door and, if so, why?

‘We have left it too late’: COP26 unlikely to limit warming to 1.5C, scientists warn . UN warns world ‘way off track’ as greenhouse gases grow . The world is nowhere near to kicking its dirtiest habit. World heading for catastrophe without bolder climate plans, UN warns. 35 official events at Cop26 put on by polluting companies. If COP26 fails, it could mean mass migrations and food shortages – Boris Johnson. From the climate crisis to nuclear war and technological disruption: The future of security reassessed.‘Illusion’ of climate action by big emitters clouds outlook for COP26 talks      Cop26 will be whitest and most privileged ever, warn campaigners               ‘It’s the protests which are giving me hope’: activists descend on Glasgow

NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  Even the mind of Dante could not imagine the inferno a nuclear war will plunge us in. Fear of ‘devastating’ nuclear war as world’s major powers enter a new arms race. A nuclear arms race is unavoidable without serious intervention.

IPPNW statement on how WHO could advance the planetary health imperative to eradicate nuclear weaponsReinforcing security through prohibition of nuclear weapons. The untold story of the world’s biggest nuclear bomb.

Another example of climate change damaging the nuclear industry –jellyfish increase clogging up cooling systems of reactors

Correcting Alan Finkel’s nuclear fallacies.

Happy Birthday King Rupert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ct2F6uvWhRw

EUROPE. The European Commission struggles with push to have nuclear power included as clean and sustainable. EU countries ramp up pressure to grant nuclear a ‘green’ investment label.

CANADA. Problems and public opposition to the plan to store high level nuclear wastes under the Great Lakes. South Bruce citizens want a referendum on plan to permanently house Canada’s nuclear waste. War hawks quietly positioning Canada to participate in US-led Ballistic Missile Defence program.

FRANCE. The French Négawatt program presents its 2022 scenario for getting France to fully renewable nuclear-free energy system. Huge study on France’s energy system and scenarios for 2050 includes costs and environmental effects of nuclear and of renewables.


 A damning new confidential report on France’s future nuclear reactor plans. Nuclear power is a divisive issue in France, leading up to the election.. Doubts that the Flamanville nuclear reactor will start on the planned date. France’s failing EDF nuclear company hopes to save itself by marketing small nuclear reactors.

USA

UK

JAPANStiff opposition to Japan PM’s nuclear push as election approaches. Japanese government’s energy policy . concentrates on restarting old nuclear reactors. 

Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor, who taught others about opposing nuclear weapons, dies at 96. World without nuclear weapons remains a goal after Sunao Tsuboi’s death.

 Pumice may affect nuclear power plants in Japan.

Freezing wall to be used for longer period than expected, “trump card” of countermeasure against contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, without sufficient verification. Temperature rises over 10 degrees Celsius in some parts of the “frozen earth wall” to reduce contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Prospects for renewable energy in Japan look good, future for nuclear power uncertain.

INDIA. Why India’s nuclear ICBM test is counterproductive for tactical and strategic stability.

CHINA. Response to claims about China’s space aims.

TAIWANNuclear has no place in Taiwan.

IRAN. Iran says nuclear talks with six powers to resume by end November. U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran, sanctions that are unrelated to nuclear activities. USA in talks with allies on getting Iran to agree to nuclear deal- Blinken. UN General Assembly First Committee approves Iran’s proposal for nuclear disarmament.

ISRAEL. Israel preparing for possible strike on Iranian nuclear sites. Likud MK: Israel must strike Iran by year’s end if there’s no new nuke deal.

GREECE. Greece will never turn to nuclear energy.

BELGIUMHigher Health Council is very critical of nuclear power.

NORTH KOREA. N. Korea accuses U.S. of acquiescing in nuclear proliferation with double standards.

AUSTRALIA.    Farmers fear that Australian climate inaction could jeopardise future export potential    Australia has a ‘suicidal’ climate policy, says former UN climate chief   

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Christina's notes | 2 Comments

Hidden agenda: Will COP26 let nuclear power in the door and, if so, why?

Hidden agenda — Beyond Nuclear International  October 31, 2021    https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/10/31/hidden-agenda/

—  
The unspoken argument for more nuclear power, By Linda Pentz Gunter

Not that the two things are unconnected. The civilian nuclear power industry is desperately scrambling to find a way into the COP climate solutions. It has rebranded itself as “zero-carbon”, which is a lie. And this lie goes unchallenged by our willing politicians who blithely repeat it. Are they really that lazy and stupid? Possibly not. Read on.

Nuclear power isn’t a climate solution of course. It can make no plausible financial case, compared with renewables and energy efficiency, nor can it deliver nearly enough electricity in time to stay the inexorable onrush of climate catastrophe. It is too slow, too expensive, too dangerous, hasn’t solved its lethal waste problem and presents a potentially disastrous security and proliferation risk. 

New, small, fast reactors will make plutonium, essential to the nuclear weapons industry as Henry Sokolski and Victor Gilinsky of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center continue to point out. Some of these so-called micro-reactors would be used to power the military battlefield. The Tennessee Valley Authority is already using two of its civilian nuclear reactors to produce tritium, another key “ingredient” for nuclear weapons and a dangerous blurring of the military and civil nuclear lines.

So here we are again at another COP (Conference of the Parties). Well, some of us are in Glasgow, Scotland at the COP itself, and some of us, this writer included, are sitting at a distance, trying to feel hopeful.

But this is COP 26. That means there have already been 25 tries at dealing with the once impending and now upon us climate crisis. Twenty five rounds of “blah, blah, blah” as youth climate activist, Greta Thunberg, so aptly put it. 

So if some of us do not feel the blush of optimism on our cheeks, we can be forgiven. I mean, even the Queen of England has had enough of the all-talk-and-no-action of our world leaders, who have been, by and large, thoroughly useless. Even, this time, absent. Some of them have been worse than that.  

Not doing anything radical on climate at this stage is fundamentally a crime against humanity. And everything else living on Earth. It should be grounds for an appearance at the International Criminal Court. In the dock.

But what are the world’s greatest greenhouse gas emitters consumed with right now? Upgrading and expanding their nuclear weapons arsenals. Another crime against humanity. It’s as if they haven’t even noticed that our planet is already going quite rapidly to hell in a handbasket. They’d just like to hasten things along a bit by inflicting a nuclear armageddon on us as well.

Not that the two things are unconnected. The civilian nuclear power industry is desperately scrambling to find a way into the COP climate solutions. It has rebranded itself as “zero-carbon”, which is a lie. And this lie goes unchallenged by our willing politicians who blithely repeat it. Are they really that lazy and stupid? Possibly not. Read on.

Nuclear power isn’t a climate solution of course. It can make no plausible financial case, compared with renewables and energy efficiency, nor can it deliver nearly enough electricity in time to stay the inexorable onrush of climate catastrophe. It is too slow, too expensive, too dangerous, hasn’t solved its lethal waste problem and presents a potentially disastrous security and proliferation risk. 

Nuclear power is so slow and expensive that it doesn’t even matter whether or not it is ‘low-carbon’ (let alone ‘zero-carbon’). As the economist, Amory Lovins, says, “ Being carbon-free does not establish climate-effectiveness.” If an energy source is too slow and too costly, it will “reduce and retard achievable climate protection,” no matter how ‘low-carbon’ it is.

New, small, fast reactors will make plutonium, essential to the nuclear weapons industry as Henry Sokolski and Victor Gilinsky of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center continue to point out. Some of these so-called micro-reactors would be used to power the military battlefield. The Tennessee Valley Authority is already using two of its civilian nuclear reactors to produce tritium, another key “ingredient” for nuclear weapons and a dangerous blurring of the military and civil nuclear lines.

Keeping existing reactors going, and building new ones, maintains the lifeline of personnel and know-how needed by the nuclear weapons sector. Dire warnings are being sounded in the halls of power about the threat to national security should the civil nuclear sector fade away.

This is more than a hypothesis. It is all spelled out in numerous documents from bodies such as The Atlantic Council to The Energy Futures Initiative. It has been well researched by two stellar academics at the University of Sussex in the UK — Andy Stirling and Phil Johnstone. It’s just almost never talked about. Including by those of us in the anti-nuclear power movement, much to Stirling and Johnstone’s consternation.

But in a way it’s just glaringly obvious. As we in the anti-nuclear movement wrack our brains to understand why our perfectly empirical and compelling arguments against using nuclear power for climate fall perpetually on deaf ears, we are maybe missing the fact that the nuclear-is-essential-for-climate arguments we hear are just one big smokescreen.

At least, let’s hope so. Because the alternative means that our politicians really are that lazy and stupid, and also gullible, or in the pockets of the big polluters, whether nuclear or fossil fuel, or possibly all of the above. And if that’s the case, we must brace ourselves for more “blah, blah, blah” at COP 26 and a truly horrible outlook for present and future generations.

We are grateful, therefore, to our colleagues attending COP 26, who will be promoting— rather than tilting at —windmills as they make their case, one more time, that nuclear power has no place in, and in fact hinders, climate solutions. 

And I hope they will also point out that expensive and obsolete nuclear power should never be promoted — under the false guise of a climate solution — as an excuse to perpetuate the nuclear weapons industry.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the International specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and edits Beyond Nuclear International.

November 1, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A damning new confidential report on France’s future nuclear reactor plans.

 Nuclear. A damning confidential report on future EPRs. It is a real bomb that has just published the information site “Context” about the new generation of nuclear power plants EDF. These EPR2 that Emmanuel Macron is about to order.

“Context” has obtained a confidential report from the government which expresses serious doubts about the design, feasibility, cost and timeframe of what should constitute the new wave of French nuclear
power plants. Bercy and EDF make no comment.

 Ouest France 29th Oct 2021

 https://www.ouest-france.fr/environnement/nucleaire/nucleaire-un-rapport-confidentiel-accablant-sur-les-futurs-epr-b54a63b8-37d7-11ec-9832-1d0e4716a307

November 1, 2021 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is not a solution for anything except perhaps the nuclear industry’s desire for taxpayer dollars.

New nuclear’ wont’ solve challenges  https://www.coloradopolitics.com/opinion/counterpoint-new-nuclear-wont-solve-challenges/article_ffab4b6e-38f1-11ec-a03d-733290cbcf3a.html Nuclear power is not a solution for anything except perhaps the nuclear industry’s desire for taxpayer dollars. The nuclear industry sales pitch, such as presented to a largely invitation-only meeting in Pueblo on July 15, promotes “new nuclear” or advanced nuclear, the only thing new is the packaging of the reactors. Even that is still experimental and on the drawing board, with NuScale working with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on various elements of their design licensing. No operating commercial models have been built, and even if everything goes according to schedule, a pilot plant in Idaho is not expected to be completed until about 2030 — at a cost of 1.3 to 3.6 billion dollars, which they have received from us taxpayers via the Department of Energy. According to widely available statistics of energy costs, nuclear is still the most expensive generation source.

NuScale corporation’s small modular reactors are, in fact, the same light-water nuclear reactors as used to generate power in other settings, using uranium as fuel, requiring cooling water, and generating the same radioactive waste products. To generate power at the level of the coal-fired Comanche 3 power plant in Pueblo County would require at least 12 of the reactors NuScale is proposing. So instead of one large reactor, there would be twelve or more nuclear reactors, with a correspondingly greater probability of error or accidents.

For NuScale as with other nuclear reactors, even if their more experimental proposal for air-cooled versus water-cooled generating capacity is accepted by the NRC, the waste extracted from the reactors every 12-24 months would have to be stored for five years per batch in a pool of cooling water, with the necessity of use and refreshment of this pool for the life of the plant. A corollary of the waste fuel handling is that each of the 12 reactors must be opened and the radioactive fuel transferred and replaced every 24 months at the least, again with a multiplied probability for accidents or errors.

Because there is no long-term national repository for high level nuclear waste, this waste will be stored on-site in the community where it was generated for many years. Because that waste has a half-life of more than 20,000 years (meaning at that point half of the radioactivity will be broken down), it will remain a burden to future generation for as long as any of us can imagine.

Although proponents present nuclear power as a ready, clean solution to the climate crisis, it is neither. The classic nuclear power plants with their iconic cooling towers are aging out of the system, following a long history of operational difficulties, environmental contamination, closure and clean-up issues, as well as the storage of radioactive waste essentially in perpetuity. The “new nuclear” is not new except for means to package it and is at least 10 years or more from even being ready for commercial construction.

The proponents, including NuScale, want to put these plants into closed coal fired power plants, in communities often well within the zones of risk set by the NRC. Because that could rightfully raise community concerns, as well as increasing potential casualties in case of an accident, NuScale is asking the NRC to reduce the zones of protection around their nuclear reactors and radioactive waste sites because of the claimed lower risk for their still-experimental multi-reactor units.

Is Colorado ready for an unproven energy “solution” that will not even be ready for testing for a decade? The answer is “no.” Velma L. Campbell, MD, MPH is a physician specializing in public health, particularly occupational and environmental health. She is the vice chair of the Sangre de Cristo Group of the Sierra Club.

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Minister confirms taxpayer will foot bill for UK nuclear power strategy

Minister confirms taxpayer will foot bill for UK nuclear power strategy LBC,  TOM SWARBRICK, 31 October 2021  On the fourth time of asking, the Energy minister admitted energy bills will rise to fund the construction of nuclear plants in the UK.

As COP26 gets underway in Glasgow, Tom Swarbrick was joined by Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth Greg Hands to discuss the UK’s strategy to achieve net zero.

Tom asked Mr Hands about the Regulated Asset Base model for nuclear, which is the government’s plan to build “at least one large-scale nuclear project” by the end of parliament.

How much are bills going to go up to pay for that?” Tom asked for the first time. The Tory MP dodged the question and insisted that the RAB model “increases our level of choices” for energy production in future.

He repeated that the construction of nuclear plants “creates more options for us.”………..

Before it has been built, how much are prices going to go up as a result of this model?” Tom asked for the third time.

The Energy Minister insisted that “depends on the deals that are being done”, adding that energy bills will “be reduced by around £10.”

Can I just try one more time, and it can be a nod or a shake of the head for an answer,” a dejected Tom said.

“Can you guarantee that through this new way of funding nuclear, that bills will not go up prior to it being built?”

“No, we’re expecting that bill-payers will make a contribution based on the Regular Asset Base model” the Minister confirmed on the fourth time of asking.

“It will end up being cheaper overall for bill-payers by in the region of £10” he repeated, clarifying that the saving is “over the lifetime of that power station.” https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/tom-swarbrick/british-taxpayer-will-pay-for-nuclear-energy-program-minister-confirms/

November 1, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | 5 Comments

France’s failing EDF nuclear company hopes to save itself by marketing small nuclear reactors

France will act as the shop window for exports of the new SMR technology — billed to be less powerful but easier to produce and run than conventional reactors — with EDF expected to begin building its first “Nuward” reactor in nine years


 

France’s nuclear drive offers chance of redemption for EDF
New commitments boost state-controlled utility but path ahead remains uncertain , Anna Gross and Sarah White in Paris    Ft.com, 31 Oct 21, As the French government signals a future where nuclear power will play an integral rolein achieving carbon neutrality for the country by 2050  [ed. that is a spurious claim]  , its state-controlled energy giant EDF remains encumbered by its past. Positioned at the heart of the nuclear debate in France and Europe, EDF struggles under a debt-laden balance sheet and a reputation for being unable to make novel nuclear technologies on time and on budget. But now President Emmanuel Macron has extended an olive branch and seemingly cleared a path for it to expand internationally and attract much-needed investment.  

………..Created in 1946 by General Charles de Gaulle, EDF holds emotional power in France, Europe’s last bastion of nuclear power, and is linked with the nation’s industrial past and future. For years it was unclear if Macron, under pressure to move away from nuclear power towards renewables, would give the green light to new reactors long called for by EDF. Shortly after coming to power, Macron committed to reducing nuclear’s share of France’s electricity production from 75 to 50 per cent by 2035.


  However, ambitious European climate goals, which hinge on pivoting to forms of energy that emit less carbon than fossil fuels, have put the spotlight on nuclear again and handed France an opportunity to assert its dominance in the field.  


  For EDF, thawing state tensions and confirmation of France’s desire for a nuclear future bring increased visibility to ensure it can keep training and hiring the people it will need and attract investment. That will be no small task for a company saddled with €41bn of debt and a colossal maintenance and investment programme to fund. UBS estimates a total investment requirement of more than €100bn for it to secure a 20-year life extension for 80 per cent of its nuclear fleet.  

 If approved, any government subsidies to fund six new reactors — estimated in leaked documents in 2019 to cost around €47bn — and the final price of the nuclear power produced by them, will ultimately be given the green light by Brussels. The cost of this funding could also be influenced by whether or not the EU includes nuclear energy in its taxonomy on “green finance”, making it a more attractive investment prospect. That decision has been delayed indefinitely because of infighting in the EU.  


  “Whether we can get financing at a low rate or super high rates completely changes the final cost. That’s the real subject, behind the gross number,” said Ursat. EDF faces other hurdles too, including the failure to reach a compromise with Brussels over the restructuring of the utility that would have allowed it to raise the regulated price at which it sells nuclear energy and ringfence some of its activities. It also needs to show it can deliver on its next-generation European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) technology, which it is planning to sell to India, Poland and the Czech Republic. 

 
EPR reactors under construction in Europe — including Flamanville in France and Hinkley Point in the UK — are billions over budget and years behind schedule. The company’s previous chief financial officer quit over concerns about strains Hinkley Point was putting on EDF’s balance sheet.  

These setbacks have led some investors and analysts to question EDF’s strategy and growth in the risky and costly field of nuclear power, were it not more than 80 per cent owned by the French government.  

“The new reactor at Flamanville is not up and running yet, and some will want to see that project completed before France commits to more reactors with the same design,” said Sam Arie, an analyst at UBS. “From an investor point of view, is there interest in new nuclear projects? Not really.” However, recent soaring energy prices coupled with stringent climate goals seemed to have turned the tide in EDF’s favour. ……….


 France will act as the shop window for exports of the new SMR technology — billed to be less powerful but easier to produce and run than conventional reactors — with EDF expected to begin building its first “Nuward” reactor in nine years. …….. https://www.ft.com/content/a1c95212-c122-4a29-8952-14a346381b91

November 1, 2021 Posted by | France, marketing, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

The untold story of the world’s biggest nuclear bomb

The Tsar Bomba is dead; long live the Tsar Bomba. As the United States, Russia, and China seem to be engaged in new arms races in several domains, including unusual and new forms of nuclear delivery vehicles, the Tsar Bomba is a potent example of how nationalism, fear, and high-technology can combine in a fashion that is ultimately dangerous, wasteful, and pointless.

The untold story of the world’s biggest nuclear bomb,  Bulletin,  By Alex Wellerstein, October 29, 2021   n the early hours of October 30, 1961, a bomber took off from an airstrip in northern Russia and began its flight through cloudy skies over the frigid Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya. Slung below the plane’s belly was a nuclear bomb the size of a small school bus—the largest and most powerful bomb ever created.

At 11:32 a.m., the bombardier released the weapon. As the bomb fell, an enormous parachute unfurled to slow its descent, giving the pilot time to retreat to a safe distance. A minute or so later, the bomb detonated. A cameraman watching from the island recalled:

A fire-red ball of enormous size rose and grew. It grew larger and larger, and when it reached enormous size, it went up. Behind it, like a funnel, the whole earth seemed to be drawn in. The sight was fantastic, unreal, and the fireball looked like some other planet. It was an unearthly spectacle! [1]

The flash alone lasted more than a minute. The fireball expanded to nearly six miles in diameter—large enough to include the entire urban core of Washington or San Francisco, or all of midtown and downtown Manhattan. Over several minutes it rose and mushroomed into a massive cloud. Within ten minutes, it had reached a height of 42 miles and a diameter of some 60 miles. One civilian witness remarked that it was “as if the Earth was killed.” Decades later, the weapon would be given the name it is most commonly known by today: Tsar Bomba, meaning “emperor bomb.”

Designed to have a maximum explosive yield of 100 million tons (or 100 megatons) of TNT equivalent, the 60,000-pound monster bomb was detonated at only half its strength. Still, at 50 megatons, it was more than 3,300 times as powerful as the atomic bomb that killed at least 70,000 people in Hiroshima, and more than 40 times as powerful as the largest nuclear bomb in the US arsenal today. Its single test represents about one tenth of the total yield of all nuclear weapons ever tested by all nations.[2]

At the time of its detonation, the Tsar Bomba held the world’s attention, largely as an object of infamy, recklessness, and terror. Within two years, though, the Soviet Union and the United States would sign and ratify the Limited Test Ban Treaty, prohibiting atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, and the 50-megaton bomb would fall into relative obscurity.

From the very beginning, the United States sought to minimize the importance of the 50-megaton test, and it became fashionable in both the United States and the former Soviet Union to dismiss it as a political stunt with little technical or strategic importance. But recently declassified files from the Kennedy administration now indicate that the Tsar Bomba was taken far more seriously as a weapon, and possibly as something to emulate, than ever was indicated publicly.

And memoirs from former Soviet weapons workers, only recently available outside Russia, make clear that the gigantic bomb’s place in the history of Soviet thermonuclear weapons may be far more important than has been appreciated. Sixty years after the detonation, it’s now finally possible to piece together a deeper understanding of the creation of the Tsar Bomba and its broader impacts.

The Tsar Bomba is not just a subject for history; some of the same dynamics exist today. It is not just the story of a single weapon that was detonated six decades ago, but a parable about political posturing and technical enablement that applies just as acutely today. In a new era of nuclear weapons and delivery competition, the Tsar Bomba is a potent example of how nationalism, fear, and high-technology can combine in a fashion that is ultimately dangerous, wasteful, and pointless.

From kilotons to megatons to gigatons

…………………….. By the spring of 1951, Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam at Los Alamos had developed their design for a workable hydrogen bomb

………………. Only a few months later, in July 1954, Teller made it clear he thought 15 megatons was child’s play. At a secret meeting of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, Teller broached, as he put it, “the possibility of much bigger bangs.” At his Livermore laboratory, he reported, they were working on two new weapon designs, dubbed Gnomon and Sundial. Gnomon would be 1,000 megatons and would be used like a “primary” to set off Sundial, which would be 10,000 megatons. Most of Teller’s testimony remains classified to this day, but other scientists at the meeting recorded, after Teller had left, that they were “shocked” by his proposal. “It would contaminate the Earth,” one suggested. Physicist I. I. Rabi, by then an experienced Teller skeptic, suggested it was probably just an “advertising stunt.”[4] But he was wrong; Livermore would for several years continue working on Gnomon, at least, and had even planned to test a prototype for the device in Operation Redwing in 1956 (but the test never took place).[5]

All of which is to say that the idea of making hydrogen bombs in the hundreds-of-megatons yield range was hardly unusual in the late 1950s. If anything, it was tame compared to the gigaton ambitions of one of the H-bomb’s inventors. It is hard to convey the damage of a gigaton bomb, because at such yields many traditional scaling laws do not work (the bomb blows a hole in the atmosphere, essentially). However, a study from 1963 suggested that, if detonated 28 miles (45 kilometers) above the surface of the Earth, a 10,000-megaton weapon could set fires over an area 500 miles (800 kilometers) in diameter. Which is to say, an area about the size of France.[6]………………………….

Planning for a 100-megaton bomb……………

Russian accounts by participants claim Arzamas-16 scientists had been inspired, in part, by speculations about gigantic, gigaton-range bombs in the foreign press in May 1960. The physicist and designer Victor Adamski said that Sakharov and others tried to immediately assess the plausibility of the news reports, and came up with the schema that was ultimately used for the Tsar Bomba…………………

Sakharov was already queasy about the long-term deaths from nuclear fallout, and he wanted to minimize the excess radioactivity produced by the test. In 1958, he had calculated that for every megaton of even “clean” nuclear weapons, there would be some 6,600 premature deaths over the next 8,000 years across the globe, owing to carbon atoms in the atmosphere that would become radioactive under the bomb’s neutron flux.[17………………….

An American Tsar Bomba?

…………………  Even after denouncing the Tsar Bomba as pointless terrorism, there were scientists and military planners working for the US government who were considering nuclear weapons with yields 20 times larger……………….

The Limited Test Ban Treaty

In 1963, the United States stood at a crossroads. Down one path was a new generation of “very high-yield” nuclear weapons with continued atmospheric nuclear testing. Down the other was the possibility of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which would ban future atmospheric testing, effectively precluding the development of high-yield weapons.

……………….. even while the United States professed to not care about “very high-yield” weapons, it continued to study them well into the Johnson administration. 

…………. the Soviets never broke the Limited Test Ban Treaty, and smaller warheads became the norm. Warheads that could be mounted in multiples and independently targeted on a single missile, or put into submarines, became the core of the arsenal. Large, high-yield weapons would, eventually, be mostly phased out. The dismissal of the uselessness of the Tsar Bomba would become orthodoxy, as even the CIA (eventually) concluded that the Soviets were not going to field such a thing in numbers or try to put superbombs on missiles.

……………..  even if such weapons are now purely relegated to history, we should remember that the decision not to deploy them was not made because the Soviet Union and United States shied away from the shocking megatonnage. It was because massive bombs were harder to use, and something about them symbolized the ridiculousness of the arms race in a way that making thousands of “smaller” weapons (some as big as 20–30 megatons) did not.

The United States did not make 50- to 100-megaton bombs or gigaton bombs, but it made a gigaton arsenal……………. Today it is probably around 2,000 megatons—more than enough to devastate the planet in a full-scale nuclear war.

The Tsar Bomba is dead; long live the Tsar Bomba. As the United States, Russia, and China seem to be engaged in new arms races in several domains, including unusual and new forms of nuclear delivery vehicles, the Tsar Bomba is a potent example of how nationalism, fear, and high-technology can combine in a fashion that is ultimately dangerous, wasteful, and pointless. “Very high-yield” nuclear weapons weren’t necessary for deterrence, and they were explored at the expense of not only other weapons systems, but also the multitude of other things that nations could spend their wealth and resources on. They didn’t bring safety or security. https://thebulletin.org/2021/10/the-untold-story-of-the-worlds-biggest-nuclear-bomb/

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Time is running out for victims of the world’s first nuclear explosion

 By Joshua Miller, KYODO NEWS – 31 Oct 21, Albuquerque New Mexico.  Speak of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the significance is obvious. “Trinity Site?” Most people are still unaware that it was the location of the world’s first nuclear explosion and endures as one of the most consequential sites in human history.

Drifting packs of tourists take turns snapping photographs in front of a 3-meter obelisk where a plaque explains that Trinity is where the first nuclear device was ever exploded on July 16, 1945. Most seem indifferent to what many view as the stage for a dry run to the devastating atomic bombings of the two Japanese cities……

Aside from the plaque and some photographs depicting the site and explosion that occupy a nearby fence, little illustrates the magnitude of what happened there 76 years ago when the Manhattan Project’s secret test scattered radioactive ash over the residents, and flora and fauna, of nearby villages.

But at the entrance to the site, a small group of peaceful protestors display signs and hand out pamphlets to raise awareness for “the unknowing, unwilling, and uncompensated innocent victims” of the 1945 test. Public access at Trinity is only allowed twice a year.

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium is seeking compensation from the United States government for the generations of people in the region who have suffered from cancer, which the group blames on the downwind fallout.

The scientific and medical communities are divided on whether there is a definitive link between the Trinity test and the number of cancer-related illnesses in the region, including Tularosa, Alamogordo and Carrizozo, but the anecdotal evidence is undeniable.

“We bury our loved ones on a regular basis. Somebody dies and somebody else is diagnosed,” said Tina Cordova, a sixth-generation New Mexican and cancer survivor who co-founded the Tularosa Downwinders in 2005.

“This is the eighth year that we’ve come here to do this. When we heard that they take tour buses in there, we decided that we would start staging these peaceful demonstrations to make sure that, while they over-glorify the science and industry in there, they hear the history of the people, the actual people, who were subject to this without consent or knowledge.”

Cordova was instrumental in getting a bill introduced to Congress in September to amend and extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which recognizes claims related to the nearly 200 atmospheric nuclear weapons development tests conducted by the United States between 1945 to 1962.

The fund, set to expire on July 11, 2022, has paid out nearly $2.5 billion in claims for people living or working downwind of the Nevada Test Site, as well as onsite participants, uranium miners, millers, and ore transporters, according to the Department of Justice. However, since its enactment in 1990, the RECA has never recognized New Mexico as a downwind state.

“This is the eighth year that we’ve come here to do this. When we heard that they take tour buses in there, we decided that we would start staging these peaceful demonstrations to make sure that, while they over-glorify the science and industry in there, they hear the history of the people, the actual people, who were subject to this without consent or knowledge.”

Cordova was instrumental in getting a bill introduced to Congress in September to amend and extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which recognizes claims related to the nearly 200 atmospheric nuclear weapons development tests conducted by the United States between 1945 to 1962.

The fund, set to expire on July 11, 2022, has paid out nearly $2.5 billion in claims for people living or working downwind of the Nevada Test Site, as well as onsite participants, uranium miners, millers, and ore transporters, according to the Department of Justice. However, since its enactment in 1990, the RECA has never recognized New Mexico as a downwind state…………………..

By the time the dust had settled, the damage was done. According to the Tularosa Downwinders, the radioactive ash descended onto the thousands of families living within a 50-mile radius of the blast and contaminated the soil, water, crops and livestock vital to the region’s small farms and villages.

“A lot of people got cancer here, from all over the area in Tularosa, Carrizozo, Alamogordo, in El Paso even. All the way in Albuquerque,” Herrera said. “I’m convinced it’s because of the bomb.”

Herrera was diagnosed with a parotid tumor, a cancer affecting the salivary glands, in 1998. While touring Japan, he recalled the shock from his Navy buddies after telling them that a bomb similar to the ones that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki had exploded near his home. “They couldn’t believe it,” he said.

Although the magnitude of what happened at the Trinity Site appeared lost on many visitors, others, such as retired veteran Paul Goulding, 68, who lives in nearby Las Cruces, said, “It’s just the effects of a nuclear explosion. And there’s victims on both sides of the Pacific. And I think the American public needs to understand that their fellow citizens suffered unknowingly. And are still suffering.”

Cordova maintains that environmental racism and the government’s lack of accountability for their negligence in conducting such a wantonly dangerous experiment are the major roadblocks in getting New Mexicans reparations but is hopeful that the RECA will be expanded under the Biden administration.  https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/10/b47f81cc76fd-feature-time-is-running-out-for-victims-of-worlds-1st-nuclear-explosion.html

November 1, 2021 Posted by | health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Scary, Recent Earthquakes Near Jenkinsville Nuclear Power Plant, South Carolina

November 1, 2021 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Humboldt Bay Power Plant decommissioning; problem of nuclear waste buried not far from sea level, in a seismic area

PG&E completes decommissioning process, ends nuclear facility license

But more work remains: 37 tons of nuclear waste are in an eroding bluff near King Salmon,  
By ISABELLA VANDERHEIDEN | ivanderheiden@times-standard.com | Times-Standard October 30, 2021    Following a years-long effort to decommission the former nuclear power plant in Humboldt Bay, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. recently filed a request with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to terminate the power plant’s license marking a “major milestone” for the Humboldt County community……..

Decomissioning

Decommissioning efforts for the Humboldt Bay Power Plant Unit 3, a 63-Megawatt electric boiling water reactor, began in June 2009, more than 30 years after the power plant had ceased operations. It operated from 1963 to 1976 and was permanently defueled in 1984.

At the time of the power plant’s construction, atomic energy was hailed as the solution to global energy needs……….

Why was the power plant short-lived? As it turns out, seismically active regions are not ideal locations for nuclear power……………

More to be done

Buried deep into Buhne Point, a highland bluff directly northeast of King Salmon, is an underground nuclear waste storage facility known as the Humboldt Bay Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, or ISFSI. While the ISFSI will effectively contain the 37-tons of nuclear waste for approximately 50 years, it is not a permanent solution.

“All of the high-level waste that was ever produced at the power plant including all the spent fuel rods the reactor cut up into pieces, all that stuff is buried on top of the hill at King Salmon,” Kalt said. “The ISFSI is really what the Baykeeper is concerned about at this point.”

Corral said the “five casks of spent nuclear fuel and one cask of Greater than Class C waste” will remain on site until an offsite repository is available, “as promised by the federal government.”

However, Kalt said the waste will never be removed “because nobody wants it.”

I really just don’t think it’s appropriate anyway. It would be so dangerous to move it and it would be unfair to put that on another community,” she said.”There is no such thing as ‘away’. If you’re going to have something that toxic in your community, you should understand that this is in perpetuity.”

The ISFSI will have to be relocated at some point as the bluff continues to erode and the sea level continues to rise.

“The projections indicate that the sea level will be four feet higher in 50 years than it is today,” Kalt said. “The ISFSI is on the top of an eroding bluff, it’s 44-feet above sea level, it’s buried to 30 feet below the surface, so the bottom is only 10 feet above sea level currently. …What are we going to do, you know? It’s pretty clear that there needs to be a plan to at least move it back from the bay, it’s going to be really expensive and controversial, but leaving it there is not a plan. It’s a nightmare.”

It won’t be easy, but Kalt said there needs to be a community process in deciding where to relocate the ISFSI……………….https://www.times-standard.com/2021/10/30/2687577/

November 1, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

From the climate crisis to nuclear war and technological disruption: The future of security reassessed

From the climate crisis to nuclear war and technological disruption: The future of security reassessed,  European Leadership Network, Irina Ghaplanyan |Former Deputy Minister of Environment and Senior Advisor, World Bank Group , 29 Oct 21, ”……………….   as countries prepare to convene, it is becoming more and more evident that governments are dangerously off track to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, and the ambition needed to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees is significantly lacking. The Glasgow summit will be one important testing ground to assess global leadership’s ability to unite and meet the urgent challenge of the climate crisis. But more importantly, it will also tell us how effective, if at all, the models of the international fora and global negotiations are at assessing, presenting, negotiating and agreeing around not only the risks, but also the solutions, to global security and fundamentally the existence of humankind.

In many respects this is reminiscent of the negotiations of key stakeholders over the future of nuclear weapons and the potential of nuclear war. In the most recent meeting in June 2021 between US President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the two sides released a statement reaffirming the 1985 Gorbachev-Reagan statement that “Nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Yet this fundamental truth is followed either by counter-action – modernisation of nuclear stockpiles, thereby perpetuating the existing risks by another 50-100 years – or by insufficient action. This is similar to statements made in the framework of climate negotiations which are usually followed by a fraction of what is required in order to prevent irreversible damage to the planet.

The inaction over, and the continuous threat of, the potential of nuclear war is further exacerbated by the rapid development of cyber warfare. It is a war that has already begun, and its dimension and scale is beyond any conventional confrontation that humanity has ever faced. From meddling in elections of sovereign states -fundamentally undermining the very core institution of democracy – to cyber-attacks on civilian infrastructures, it is only a matter of time before cyber intrusion makes its way into the nuclear command and control – perhaps the most sensitive infrastructure in the world when it comes to security………………..

Pandemics, climate crisis, nuclear war and technological disruption have many general yet two definitive things in common. First, the evidence-based and conscious understanding by the world’s leaders that through inaction on all these security risks they are engaging in a process of collective suicide. Collective because these security risks are inherently global and know no borders, nationalities or political affiliations. Second, although the conventional international legal and policy instruments, from treaties (from the Paris Agreement to SALT) to norms, arguably could be considered insufficient, yet in the face of the transformed and emerging security risks they currently remain the only apparatus the global community has to hold each other accountable.

What will make a difference in accelerating action on pandemic prevention, climate disruption, nuclear threat and technological disruption is, first of all, the re-evaluation of metrics by which we measure human security, thereby arming ourselves with a broader and more interdisciplinary understanding of human wellbeing.

Secondly, the existing instruments for addressing these challenges must be improved as well as complemented by new solutions………
Third, non-traditional stakeholders must be more engaged and more accountable………  https://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/commentary/from-the-climate-crisis-to-nuclear-war-and-technological-disruption-the-future-of-security-reassessed/

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Illusion’ of climate action by big emitters clouds outlook for COP26 talks

‘Illusion’ of climate action by big emitters clouds outlook for COP26 talks

The COP26 conference in Glasgow has been billed as the last major chance to galvanise the collective effort needed to limit global warming to 1.5C, with scientists calling for emissions to be cut by nearly half by 2030 to achieve that.

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exelon now to keep two Illinois nuclear stations open, following new State law subsidising nuclear

Two nuclear power plants in northern Illinois reversed plans to retire early, eia, 31 Oct 21,  Exelon, the owner-operator of Illinois’s six nuclear power plants, recently announced that the Byron and Dresden nuclear plants will continue operating rather than retire this fall as previously planned. The announcement came after the Illinois state legislature and governor approved a clean energy bill supporting [so-called] carbon-free energy resources…………..

The bill also supports nuclear power plants in the state through a carbon credit plan, where utilities that serve more than 300,000 residential customers are required to purchase electricity credits generated from certain nuclear plants. S.B. 2408 comes in addition to an existing Zero Emission Credits (ZEC) program that began in 2017 and provides revenue to participating nuclear power plants in Illinois.

Prior to S.B. 2408, the Byron and Dresden plant operators reported to EIA that they had planned to retire the plants in September and November 2021, respectively. For power plants with one megawatt (MW) of capacity or more, plant owners and developers report planned capacity retirements and additions to EIA, which we compile and publish in our annual and monthly electric generator inventory data………… https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=50136

November 1, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

N. Korea accuses U.S. of acquiescing in nuclear proliferation with double standards

N. Korea accuses U.S. of acquiescing in nuclear proliferation with ‘double standardsAll News  October 31, 2021 SEOUL, (Yonhap) –– North Korea’s foreign ministry on Sunday accused the United States of “acquiescing” in nuclear proliferation around the world based on “double standards,” taking issue with the U.S.’ recent submarine deal with Australia and other policy moves.

The ministry made the accusations in an article, entitled “Is the U.S. really a guardian of the nuclear non-proliferation regime?,” claiming that the international community is paying attention to the U.S.’ “systematic” violation of the regime.

“The U.S. itself has ignored the principle of nuclear non-proliferation and allowed for double standards in line with their strategy for the domination of the world,” the ministry said in the writing.

The ministry stressed that the U.S. built and used nuclear arms for the first time in the world and took the first proliferation step by transferring technology for nuclear-powered submarines to Britain on the pretext of responding to threats from the then Soviet Union in the past.

The ministry also took note of the recent trilateral agreement among the U.S., Britain and Australia to equip Australia with “conventionally-armed” but nuclear-powered submarines. https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20211031004300325

November 1, 2021 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘It’s the protests which are giving me hope’: activists descend on Glasgow


‘It’s the protests which are giving me hope’: activists descend on Glasgow

Campaigners from around the world are uniting to disrupt the Cop26 conference and put pressure on political leaders

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment