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Radioactive Materials from Wild Mushrooms: 5 Municipalities to Restrict Shipments

December 13, 2011 

Gunma prefecture – Some wild mushrooms from five cities, towns and villages in Gunma Prefecture, including Midori City and Nakanojo Town, have been found to contain radioactive materials exceeding the standard values.

According to Gunma Prefecture, when wild mushrooms collected in Midori City, Nakanojo Town, Kusatsu Town, Katahina Village, and Kawaba Village were tested in September this year, 510 becquerels of radioactive cesium was detected in the red fir mushroom in Kawaba Village. In all cases, the amount of radioactive materials detected exceeded the national standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram.
In response, the national nuclear emergency response headquarters instructed the prefectural government to restrict the shipment of wild mushrooms from five cities, towns, and villages in the area as of March 13.
According to the prefectural government, the five cities, towns and villages have already been asked to refrain from shipping the mushrooms, and since the season for gathering wild vegetables has already ended, the impact is expected to be minimal.
In the prefecture, seven municipalities, including Numata City, have been instructed to restrict shipments of wild mushrooms since September 2012, bringing the number of municipalities restricting shipments of wild mushrooms to one or two. This brings the number of cities, towns, and villages where wild mushroom shipments are restricted to one or two.
The prefectural government says that it will continue to conduct monitoring inspections systematically.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/maebashi/20211213/1060010905.html?fbclid=IwAR1vseUrk0rx1N56TZAkGVfZpKj2sJoJ3ugTTURPX0vPOS8rJNGnARL5dkU

December 14, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Chris Hedges on the Execution of Julian Assange

Hedges: The Execution of Julian Assange, SCHEERPOST, By Chris Hedges 14 Dec 21, He committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. And empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds.

Let us name Julian Assange’s executioners. Joe Biden. Boris Johnson. Scott Morrison. Theresa May. Lenin Moreno. Donald Trump. Barack Obama. Mike Pompeo. Hillary Clinton. Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and Justice Timothy Victor Holroyde. Crown Prosecutors James Lewis, Clair Dobbin and Joel Smith. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser. Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia Gordon Kromberg. William Burns, the director of the CIA. Ken McCallum, the Director General of the UK Security Service or MI5.

Let us acknowledge that the goal of these executioners, who discussed kidnapping and assassinating Assange, has always been his annihilation. That Assange, who is in precarious physical and psychological health and who suffered a stroke during court video proceedings on October 27, has been condemned to death should not come as a surprise. The ten years he has been detained, seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and nearly three in the high security Belmarsh prison, were accompanied with a lack of sunlight and exercise and unrelenting threats, pressure, anxiety and stress.  “His eyes were out of sync, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry,” his fiancé Stella Morris said of the stroke. 

His steady physical and psychological deterioration has led to hallucinations and depression. He takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. He has been observed pacing his cell until he collapses, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall. He has spent weeks in the medical wing of Belmarsh. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.” The executioners have not yet completed their grim work. Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the Haitian independence movement, the only successful slave revolt in human history, was physically destroyed in the same manner, locked by the French in an unheated and cramped prison cell and left to die of exhaustion, malnutrition, apoplexy, pneumonia and probably tuberculosis.  

Assange committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. Republican or Democrat. Conservative or Labour. Trump or Biden. It does not matter. The goons who oversee the empire sing from the same Satanic songbook. Empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds. Rome’s long persecution of the Carthaginian general Hannibal, forcing him in the end to commit suicide, and the razing of Carthage repeats itself in epic after epic. Crazy Horse. Patrice Lumumba. Malcolm X. Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Sukarno. Ngo Dinh Diem. Fred Hampton. Salvador Allende. If you cannot be bought off, if you will not be intimidated into silence, you will be killed. 

The obsessive CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, which because none succeeded have a Keystone Cop incompetence to them, included contracting Momo Salvatore Giancana, Al Capone’s successor in Chicago, along with Miami mobster Santo Trafficante to kill the Cuban leader, attempting to poison Castro’s cigars with a botulinum toxin, providing Castro with a tubercle bacilli-infected scuba-diving suit, booby-trapping a conch shell on the sea floor where he often dived, slipping botulism-toxin pills in one of Castro’s drinks and using a pen outfitted with a hypodermic needle to poison him. 

The current cabal of assassins hide behind a judicial burlesque overseen in London by portly judges in gowns and white horse-hair wigs mouthing legal Alice-in-Wonderland absurdities. It is a dark reprise of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado with the Lord High Executioner drawing up lists of people “who would not be missed.”

I watched the latest installment of the Assange show trial via video link on Friday. I listened to the reading of the ruling granting the appeal by the United States to extradite Assange. Assange’s lawyers have two weeks to appeal to the Supreme Court, which they are expected to do. I am not optimistic. 

Friday’s ruling was devoid of legal analysis. It fully accepted the conclusions of the lower court judge about increased risk of suicide and inhumane prison conditions in the United States. But the ruling argued that US Diplomatic Note no. 74, given to the court on February 5, 2021, which offered “assurances” that Assange would be well treated, overrode the lower court’s conclusions. It was a remarkable legal non sequitur. The ruling would not have gotten a passing grade in a first-semester law school course. But legal erudition is not the point. The judicial railroading of Assange, which has eviscerated one legal norm after another, has turned, as Franz Kafka wrote, “lying into a universal principle.” 

The decision to grant the extradition was based on four “assurances” given to the court by the US government.  The two-judge appellate panel ruled that the “assurances” “entirely answer the concerns which caused the judge [in the lower court] to discharge Mr. Assange.” The “assurances” promise that Assange will not be subject to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) which keep prisoners in extreme isolation and allow the government to monitor conversations with lawyers, eviscerating attorney-client privilege; can, if the Australian his government agrees, serve out his sentence there;  will receive adequate clinical and psychological care; and, pre-trial and post trial, will not be held in the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado. 

“There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say,” the judges wrote. “There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.”

And with these rhetorical feints the judges signed Assange’s death warrant. 

None of the “assurances” offered by Biden’s Department of Justice are worth the paper they are written on.  All come with escape clauses. None are legally binding. Should Assange do “something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX” he will be subject to these coercive measures. And you can be assured that any incident, no matter how trivial, will be used, if Assange is extradited, as an excuse to toss him into the mouth of the dragon. 

The decision to grant the extradition was based on four “assurances” given to the court by the US government.  The two-judge appellate panel ruled that the “assurances” “entirely answer the concerns which caused the judge [in the lower court] to discharge Mr. Assange.” The “assurances” promise that Assange will not be subject to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) which keep prisoners in extreme isolation and allow the government to monitor conversations with lawyers, eviscerating attorney-client privilege; can, if the Australian his government agrees, serve out his sentence there;  will receive adequate clinical and psychological care; and, pre-trial and post trial, will not be held in the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado. 

“There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say,” the judges wrote. “There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.”

And with these rhetorical feints the judges signed Assange’s death warrant. 

None of the “assurances” offered by Biden’s Department of Justice are worth the paper they are written on.  All come with escape clauses. None are legally binding. Should Assange do “something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX” he will be subject to these coercive measures. And you can be assured that any incident, no matter how trivial, will be used, if Assange is extradited, as an excuse to toss him into the mouth of the dragon. 

Should Australia, which has marched in lockstep with the US in the persecution of their citizen not agree to his transfer, he will remain for the rest of his life in a US prison. But so what. If Australia does not request a transfer it “cannot be a cause for criticism of the USA, or a reason for regarding the assurances as inadequate to meet the judge’s concerns,” the ruling read. And even if that were not the case, it would take Assange ten to fifteen years to appeal his sentence up to the Supreme Court, more than enough time for the state assassins to finish him off. I am not sure how to respond to assurance number four, stating that Assange will not be held pre-trial in the ADX in Florence. No one is held pre-trail in ADX Florence. But it sounds reassuring, so I guess those in the Biden DOJ who crafted the diplomatic note added it. ADX Florence, of course, is not the only supermax prison in the United States that might house Assange. Assange can be shipped out to one of our other Guantanamo-like facilities. Daniel Hale, the former US Air Force intelligence analyst currently imprisoned for releasing top-secret documents that exposed widespread civilian casualties caused by US drone strikes, has been held at USP Marion, a federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) since October. CMUs are highly restrictive units that replicate the near total isolation imposed by SAMs. 

There is no legal basis to hold Julian in prison. There is no legal basis to try him, a  a foreign national, under the Espionage Act.  The CIA spied on Assange in the Ecuador Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers. This fact alone invalidates any future trial. Assange, who after seven years in a cramped room without sunlight in the embassy, has been held for nearly three years in a high-security prison in London so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the unrelenting abuse and torture it knows will lead to his psychological and physical disintegration.


By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

Let us name Julian Assange’s executioners. Joe Biden. Boris Johnson. Scott Morrison. Theresa May. Lenin Moreno. Donald Trump. Barack Obama. Mike Pompeo. Hillary Clinton. Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and Justice Timothy Victor Holroyde. Crown Prosecutors James Lewis, Clair Dobbin and Joel Smith. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser. Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia Gordon Kromberg. William Burns, the director of the CIA. Ken McCallum, the Director General of the UK Security Service or MI5.

Let us acknowledge that the goal of these executioners, who discussed kidnapping and assassinating Assange, has always been his annihilation. That Assange, who is in precarious physical and psychological health and who suffered a stroke during court video proceedings on October 27, has been condemned to death should not come as a surprise. The ten years he has been detained, seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and nearly three in the high security Belmarsh prison, were accompanied with a lack of sunlight and exercise and unrelenting threats, pressure, anxiety and stress.  “His eyes were out of sync, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry,” his fiancé Stella Morris said of the stroke. 

His steady physical and psychological deterioration has led to hallucinations and depression. He takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. He has been observed pacing his cell until he collapses, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall. He has spent weeks in the medical wing of Belmarsh. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.” The executioners have not yet completed their grim work. Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the Haitian independence movement, the only successful slave revolt in human history, was physically destroyed in the same manner, locked by the French in an unheated and cramped prison cell and left to die of exhaustion, malnutrition, apoplexy, pneumonia and probably tuberculosis.  

Assange committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. Republican or Democrat. Conservative or Labour. Trump or Biden. It does not matter. The goons who oversee the empire sing from the same Satanic songbook. Empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds. Rome’s long persecution of the Carthaginian general Hannibal, forcing him in the end to commit suicide, and the razing of Carthage repeats itself in epic after epic. Crazy Horse. Patrice Lumumba. Malcolm X. Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Sukarno. Ngo Dinh Diem. Fred Hampton. Salvador Allende. If you cannot be bought off, if you will not be intimidated into silence, you will be killed. 

The obsessive CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, which because none succeeded have a Keystone Cop incompetence to them, included contracting Momo Salvatore Giancana, Al Capone’s successor in Chicago, along with Miami mobster Santo Trafficante to kill the Cuban leader, attempting to poison Castro’s cigars with a botulinum toxin, providing Castro with a tubercle bacilli-infected scuba-diving suit, booby-trapping a conch shell on the sea floor where he often dived, slipping botulism-toxin pills in one of Castro’s drinks and using a pen outfitted with a hypodermic needle to poison him. 

The current cabal of assassins hide behind a judicial burlesque overseen in London by portly judges in gowns and white horse-hair wigs mouthing legal Alice-in-Wonderland absurdities. It is a dark reprise of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado with the Lord High Executioner drawing up lists of people “who would not be missed.”

I watched the latest installment of the Assange show trial via video link on Friday. I listened to the reading of the ruling granting the appeal by the United States to extradite Assange. Assange’s lawyers have two weeks to appeal to the Supreme Court, which they are expected to do. I am not optimistic. 

Friday’s ruling was devoid of legal analysis. It fully accepted the conclusions of the lower court judge about increased risk of suicide and inhumane prison conditions in the United States. But the ruling argued that US Diplomatic Note no. 74, given to the court on February 5, 2021, which offered “assurances” that Assange would be well treated, overrode the lower court’s conclusions. It was a remarkable legal non sequitur. The ruling would not have gotten a passing grade in a first-semester law school course. But legal erudition is not the point. The judicial railroading of Assange, which has eviscerated one legal norm after another, has turned, as Franz Kafka wrote, “lying into a universal principle.” 

The decision to grant the extradition was based on four “assurances” given to the court by the US government.  The two-judge appellate panel ruled that the “assurances” “entirely answer the concerns which caused the judge [in the lower court] to discharge Mr. Assange.” The “assurances” promise that Assange will not be subject to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) which keep prisoners in extreme isolation and allow the government to monitor conversations with lawyers, eviscerating attorney-client privilege; can, if the Australian his government agrees, serve out his sentence there;  will receive adequate clinical and psychological care; and, pre-trial and post trial, will not be held in the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado. 

“There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say,” the judges wrote. “There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.”

And with these rhetorical feints the judges signed Assange’s death warrant. 

None of the “assurances” offered by Biden’s Department of Justice are worth the paper they are written on.  All come with escape clauses. None are legally binding. Should Assange do “something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX” he will be subject to these coercive measures. And you can be assured that any incident, no matter how trivial, will be used, if Assange is extradited, as an excuse to toss him into the mouth of the dragon. 

Should Australia, which has marched in lockstep with the US in the persecution of their citizen not agree to his transfer, he will remain for the rest of his life in a US prison. But so what. If Australia does not request a transfer it “cannot be a cause for criticism of the USA, or a reason for regarding the assurances as inadequate to meet the judge’s concerns,” the ruling read. And even if that were not the case, it would take Assange ten to fifteen years to appeal his sentence up to the Supreme Court, more than enough time for the state assassins to finish him off. I am not sure how to respond to assurance number four, stating that Assange will not be held pre-trial in the ADX in Florence. No one is held pre-trail in ADX Florence. But it sounds reassuring, so I guess those in the Biden DOJ who crafted the diplomatic note added it. ADX Florence, of course, is not the only supermax prison in the United States that might house Assange. Assange can be shipped out to one of our other Guantanamo-like facilities. Daniel Hale, the former US Air Force intelligence analyst currently imprisoned for releasing top-secret documents that exposed widespread civilian casualties caused by US drone strikes, has been held at USP Marion, a federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) since October. CMUs are highly restrictive units that replicate the near total isolation imposed by SAMs. 

The High Court ruling ironically came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced at the virtual Summit for Democracy that the Biden administration will provide new funding to protect reporters targeted because of their work and support independent international journalism. Blinken’s “assurances” that the Biden administration will defend a free press, at the very moment the administration was demanding Assange’s extradition, is a glaring example of the rank hypocrisy and mendacity that makes the Democrats, as Glen Ford used to say, “not the lesser evil, but the more effective evil.” 

Assange is charged in the US under 17 counts of the Espionage Act and one count of hacking into a government computer. The charges could see him sentenced to 175 years in prison, even though he is not a US citizen and WikiLeaks is not a US-based publication. If found guilty it will effectively criminalize the investigative work of all journalists and publishers, anywhere in the world and of any nationality, who possess classified documents to shine a light on the inner workings of power. This mortal assault on the press will have been orchestrated, we must not forget, by a Democratic administration. It will set a legal precedent that will delight other totalitarian regimes and autocrats who, emboldened by the United States, will gleefully seize journalists and publishers, no matter where they are located, who publish inconvenient truths. 

There is no legal basis to hold Julian in prison. There is no legal basis to try him, a  a foreign national, under the Espionage Act.  The CIA spied on Assange in the Ecuador Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers. This fact alone invalidates any future trial. Assange, who after seven years in a cramped room without sunlight in the embassy, has been held for nearly three years in a high-security prison in London so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the unrelenting abuse and torture it knows will lead to his psychological and physical disintegration.

The persecution of Assange is designed to send a message to anyone who might consider exposing the corruption, dishonesty and depravity that defines the black heart of our global elites. 

Dean Yates can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. He was the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad on the morning of July 12, 2007 when his Iraqi colleagues Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh were killed, along with nine other men, by US Army Apache gunships. Two children were seriously wounded. The US government spent three years lying to Yates, Reuters and the rest of the world about the killings, although the army had video evidence of the massacre taken by the Apaches during the attack. The video, known as the Collateral Murder video, was leaked in 2010 by Chelsea Manning to Assange. It, for the first time, proved that those killed were not engaged, as the army had repeatedly insisted, in a firefight. It exposed the lies spun by the US that it could not locate the video footage and had never attempted to cover up the killings. 

Watch the full interview I did with Yates

The Spanish courts can tell you what US “assurances” are worth…………….

The people in Afghanistan can tell you what U.S “assurances” are worth………..

The people in Iraq can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. ……..

The people of Iran can tell you what US “assurances” are worth. ………

The thousands of people tortured in US global black sites can tell you what US “assurances” are worth……..

Assange, at tremendous personal cost, warned us. He gave us the truth. The ruling class is crucifying him for this truth. With his crucifixion, the dim lights of our democracy go dark.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VzFJ9csons&t=130s      https://scheerpost.com/2021/12/13/hedges-the-execution-of-julian-assange/?fbclid=IwAR1dILpTE-VKbcdBa_gFy3vKLPMvddoBhPf6MKJ1cmuDMf0HrFUyungV-vo

December 14, 2021 Posted by | legal, PERSONAL STORIES, politics international, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, USA | 1 Comment

Dr Jim Green dissects the hype surrounding Small ”Modular” Nuclear Reactors

 Nuclear power’s economic failure, Ecologist, Dr Jim Green, 13th December 2021     Small modular reactors

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are heavily promoted but construction projects are few and far between and have exhibited disastrous cost overruns and multi-year delays.

It should be noted that none of the projects discussed below meet the ‘modular’ definition of serial factory production of reactor components, which could potentially drive down costs.

Using that definition, no SMRs have ever been built and no country, company or utility is building the infrastructure for SMR construction.

In 2004, when the CAREM SMR in Argentina was in the planning stage, Argentina’s Bariloche Atomic Center estimated a cost of US$1 billion / GW for an integrated 300 MW plant (while acknowledging that to achieve such a cost would be a “very difficult task”).

Now, the cost estimate for the CAREM reactor is a mind-boggling US$23.4 billion / GW (US$750 million / 32 MW). That’s a truckload of money for a reactor with the capacity of two large wind turbines. The project is seven years behind schedule and costs will likely increase further.

Russia’s floating plant

Russia’s floating nuclear power plant (with two 35 MW reactors) is said to be the only operating SMR anywhere in the world (although it doesn’t fit the ‘modular’ definition of serial factory production).

The construction cost increased six-fold from 6 billion rubles to 37 billion rubles (US$502 million).

According to the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency, electricity produced by the Russian floating plant costs an estimated US$200 / MWh, with the high cost due to large staffing requirements, high fuel costs, and resources required to maintain the barge and coastal infrastructure.

The cost of electricity produced by the Russian plant exceeds costs from large reactors (US$131-204) even though SMRs are being promoted as the solution to the exorbitant costs of large nuclear plants.

Climate solution?

SMRs are being promoted as important potential contributors to climate change abatement but the primary purpose of the Russian plant is to power fossil fuel mining operations in the Arctic.

A 2016 report said that the estimated construction cost of China’s demonstration 210 MW high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) is about US$5 billion / GW, about twice the initial cost estimates, and that cost increases have arisen from higher material and component costs, increases in labour costs, and project delays.

The World Nuclear Association states that the cost is US$6 billion / GW.

Those figures are 2-3 times higher than the US$2 billion / GW estimate in a 2009 paper by Tsinghua University researchers.

China reportedly plans to upscale the HTGR design to 655 MW but the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology at Tsinghua University expects the cost of a 655 MW HTGR will be 15-20 percent higher than the cost of a conventional 600 MW pressurised water reactor.

HTGR plans dropped

NucNet reported in 2020 that China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp dropped plans to manufacture 20 HTGR units after levelised cost of electricity estimates rose to levels higher than a conventional pressurised water reactor such as China’s indigenous Hualong One.

Likewise, the World Nuclear Association states that plans for 18 additional HTGRs at the same site as the demonstration plant have been “dropped”.

In addition to the CAREM reactor in Argentina and the HTGR in China, the World Nuclear Association lists just two other SMR construction projects.

In July 2021, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) New Energy Corporation began construction of the 125 MW pressurised water reactor ACP100.

According to CNNC, construction costs per kilowatt will be twice the cost of large reactors, and the levelised cost of electricity will be 50 percent higher than large reactors.

Fast reactor

In June 2021, construction of the 300 MW demonstration lead-cooled BREST fast reactor began in Russia.

In 2012, the estimated cost for the reactor and associated facilities was 42 billion rubles; now, the estimate is 100 billion rubles (US$1.36 billion).

Much more could be said about the proliferation of SMRs in the ‘planning’ stage, and the accompanying hype.

For example a recent review asserts that more than 30 demonstrations of different ‘advanced’ reactor designs are in progress across the globe.

In fact, few have progressed beyond the planning stage, and few will. Private-sector funding has been scant and taxpayer funding has generally been well short of that required for SMR construction projects to proceed.

Subsidies

Large taxpayer subsidies might get some projects, such as the NuScale project in the US or the Rolls-Royce mid-sized reactor project in the UK, to the construction stage.

Or they may join the growing list of abandoned SMR projects:

* The French government abandoned the planned 100-200 MW ASTRID demonstration fast reactor in 2019.

* Babcock & Wilcox abandoned its Generation mPower SMR project in the US despite receiving government funding of US$111 million.

* Transatomic Power gave up on its molten salt reactor R&D in 2018.

* MidAmerican Energy gave up on its plans for SMRs in Iowa in 2013 after failing to secure legislation that would require rate-payers to partially fund construction costs.

* TerraPower abandoned its plan for a prototype fast neutron reactor in China due to restrictions placed on nuclear trade with China by the Trump administration.

* The UK government abandoned consideration of ‘integral fast reactors’ for plutonium disposition in 2019 and the US government did the same in 2015.

Hype

So we have a history of failed small reactor projects.

And a handful of recent construction projects, most subject to major cost overruns and multi-year delays.

And the possibility of a small number of SMR construction projects over the next decade.

Clearly the hype surrounding SMRs lacks justification.

Moreover, there are disturbing, multifaceted connections between SMR projects and nuclear weapons proliferation, and between SMRs and fossil fuel mining.

Hype cycle

Dr Mark Cooper connects the current SMR hype to the hype surrounding the ‘nuclear renaissance’ in the late 2000s:

“The vendors and academic institutions that were among the most avid enthusiasts in propagating the early, extremely optimistic cost estimates of the “nuclear renaissance” are the same entities now producing extremely optimistic cost estimates for the next nuclear technology. We are now in the midst of the SMR hype cycle.

* Vendors produce low-cost estimates.

* Advocates offer theoretical explanations as to why the new nuclear technology will be cost competitive.

* Government authorities then bless the estimates by funding studies from friendly academics.”  ………………. https://theecologist.org/2021/dec/13/nuclear-powers-economic-failure

December 14, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Reference, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Safety Concerns Mount Over Damaged Fuel Rods at China’s Taishan Nuclear Plant

The second EPR reactor at China’s Taishan nuclear power plant is about to enter into commercial operation.

Safety Concerns Mount Over Damaged Fuel Rods at China’s Taishan Nuclear Plant
A French whistleblower claims that the real number of damaged fuel rods exceeds the figure acknowledged by officials, and that there may be issues with other reactors of the same design.  By Jesse Turland  The Diplomat December 11, 2021
 On November 28 Radio France International Chinese published claims by a whistleblower contradicting official statements downplaying the extent of damage to fuel rods at the Taishan 1 Nuclear Reactor in Taishan, Guangdong province.

The whistleblower, who works at a French nuclear energy company, warned that more than 70 fuel rods were damaged, 14 times the figure acknowledged by China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) in June, when it stated “about five” rods were damaged. Additionally, the whistleblower claimed the damage may be linked to a “design flaw.”

Under pressure from public activism, France’s nuclear energy regulator, Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN), yesterday announced it would halt the development of the EPR reactor at Flamanville in Normandy, which uses the same design as Taishan, pending inquiries into the malfunctions at Taishan.

There is still a lot of work to be done on the [Flamanville] site before start-up operations, and feedback from the experience of the Taishan 1 EPR deviation must take place,” said ASN deputy general manager Julien Collet yesterday.

Located 110 kilometers south of Guangzhou, Taishan is the site of the world’s first reactors of the Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) design to commence operation. Its two reactors are capable of generating 1,750 Megawatts electric (Mwe) each.

According to the whistleblower, the problem of the Taishan EPR reactor is “a not-very-successful hydraulic system at the bottom of the vessel which gives an uneven distribution of power in the assemblies. A transverse current is created in the core and causes the assemblies to move, especially those at the periphery.”

The whistleblower’s claims were relayed by Bruno Chareyron, director of the Commission for Independent Research and Information about Radiation (CRIIRAD), a Paris-based NGO established in 1986 to monitor radioactive leaks in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster.

According to the whistleblower, the problem of the Taishan EPR reactor is “a not-very-successful hydraulic system at the bottom of the vessel which gives an uneven distribution of power in the assemblies. A transverse current is created in the core and causes the assemblies to move, especially those at the periphery.”

The whistleblower’s claims were relayed by Bruno Chareyron, director of the Commission for Independent Research and Information about Radiation (CRIIRAD), a Paris-based NGO established in 1986 to monitor radioactive leaks in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster.

There are at least three consequences. One is the fact that due to the damage to the nuclear fuel, a significant amount of radioactive substances migrate across the cladding of the rods and is go into the water of the primary circuit,” according to Chareyron.

“So radioactive gases like krypton and xenon are accumulating in the water inside the pressure vessel… Those gases are collected into tanks and those tanks are opened to the atmosphere normally every two months. But with fuel rod damage, some of the gases released have half-lives of years, like Krypton 85.”

He continued: “[The] second problem is the impact on the people working in the plant. Because if you have such damage in the core of the reactor, you contaminate the water inside the pressure vessel, but some of this contamination will stay inside the tubes, the pipes, the pumps.

“So when the operators have to conduct maintenance, they receive much more radiation than if the cladding fitted properly.”

Finally, “The third problem is if the fuel assemblies are a little bit broken, it means that you may reach a situation when, for example, in case of an earthquake, you cannot insert the control rods into the fuel assemblies because the assemblies are damaged,” Chareyron said…………….                                       

Jesse Turland

Jesse Turland holds a degree in Chinese language and Asian Studies from the University of Melbourne and writes about contemporary Chinese society.  https://thediplomat.com/2021/12/safety-concerns-mount-over-damaged-fuel-rods-at-chinas-taishan-nuclear-plant/

December 14, 2021 Posted by | China, incidents | Leave a comment

Russia is offering to USA and NATO an alternative way out of the present Ukraine crisis

Moscow Says It’s Offering US, NATO Alternative to New Cuban Missile Crisis-Style Scenario, Sputnik News,  Ilya Tsukanov, 14 Dec 21, Tensions between Russia and the US-led military bloc have escalated dramatically in recent weeks amid Western claims that Moscow may be preparing to invade Ukraine. Russian officials have dismissed the claims, warning that Kiev that may be getting ready to try to resolve the frozen civil conflict in eastern Ukraine by force.Russia is offering the United States and NATO an alternative to a new Cuban Missile Crisis-style scenario, and is prepared to continue constructive dialogue with Washington on Ukraine, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said.

”We are offering an alternative [to a repeat of a Cuban Missile Crisis-style event] – the non-deployment of these kinds of weapons near our borders, the withdrawal of forces and assets which destabilise the situation, a rejection of provocative measures, including various drills. But we need guarantees, and the guarantees must be legal,” Ryabkov told Sputnik during a press briefing in Moscow on Friday.

“It’s necessary to avoid a new missile crisis in Europe before it’s too late, before the appearance of medium- and short-range missiles in these territories. This is unacceptable and is a direct route to escalating the confrontation,” the diplomat warned.Ryabkov said he couldn’t understand the actions of the US and its European allies in this area, stressing that their behaviour has done nothing to strengthen their own security. “It’s ridiculous to suggest that their missiles are aimed at countering a limited rocket threat from the opposite direction,” he said.

The diplomat stressed that Russia will continue to use all available resources to push forward with dialogue with NATO on security issues, and to “make maximum use of any opportunities to build up common sense in this area.”Ryabkov said this dialogue will include a proposal on the reciprocal verifiable moratorium on the development of new ground-to-ground missile systems banned under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which the US unilaterally walked out on in 2019.

Russia ‘Alarmed’ by NATO’s Eastward Expansion

He also commented indirectly on recent statements by US and NATO officials about Ukraine’s prospects of joining NATO, saying such a development would be unacceptable for Russia.

“I take all the signals on this subject as part of a larger picture which is very alarming for us. Once again: there should not be any further eastward expansion of NATO. Even in the absence of such expansion, there should be no absorption of nearby territory in the military and military-technical sense, as is currently taking place, to the detriment of Russia’s security interests,” Ryabkov said………….

Despite the recent rhetoric, Ryabkov expressed hope that the majority of the Washington establishment is not in favour of war with Russia, with the possible exception of Republican Senator Roger Wicker, who recently urged the Biden administration not to “rule out first use nuclear action” against Russia in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine…….. https://sputniknews.com/20211210/moscow-offering-us-nato-alternative-to-new-cuban-missile-crisis-scenario-foreign-ministry-says-1091417821.html

December 14, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

What’s next for Julian Assange? and for media freedom?

If the United States is able to be successful in the prosecution of Julian Assange, it will set a very dangerous precedent for anybody publishing any material in the public interest that exposes US military secrets.”.

A UK court has cleared Julian Assange’s extradition to the US. Here’s what happens next

The 50-year-old Australian founded the WikiLeaks website in 2006 and has been held in detention since 2019 as a lengthy legal process continues over espionage charges. SBS,  By Alexander Britton, 14 Dec 21

Attempts to see WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange face criminal charges in a United States court moved a step closer after Washington recently won an appeal over his extradition.

But the legal battle is far from over, with the legal wrangling set to continue into 2022 as Assange’s team pledged to have the case heard at the United Kingdom’s highest court.

Who is Julian Assange and why is he wanted by the US?

Julian Assange is a 50-year-old Australian who founded WikiLeaks, a site that publishes leaked materials from a variety of sources.

Set up in 2006, the site is widely known for its release of footage showing a 2007 US airstrike in Baghdad that killed journalists and civilians titled Collateral Murder

He is wanted by the US for alleged violations of the country’s Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010.

Should he be convicted, the maximum jail term could be 175 years……………………

Why does the case raise media freedom concerns?

Assange’s case has “dangerous implications for the future of journalism”, the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders Christophe Deloire said.

They believe he has been targeted for his contributions to journalism and is facing “possible life imprisonment for publishing information in the public interest”.

This view is shared by MEAA Media federal president Marcus Strom who told SBS News: “This is an attempt by the United States to set a precedent, to intimidate the coverage of national security journalism.

“If the United States is able to be successful in the prosecution of Julian Assange, it will set a very dangerous precedent for anybody publishing any material in the public interest that exposes US military secrets.”………………………………

How have 11 years in detention impacted his health?

Assange’s legal team have raised concerns that the prolonged legal case has had a highly detrimental impact on his physical and mental health.

His fiancée Stella Moris told the UK’s Mail on Sunday that Assange had a mini-stroke during the October appeal, leaving him with memory loss and signs of neurological damage.

She was quoted by the paper as saying: “I believe this constant chess game, battle after battle, the extreme stress, is what caused Julian’s stroke on October 27.”

Doctors for Assange, a group set up in 2019, referred to Assange’s health as being in a “dire state” due to “his prolonged psychological torture”, while Nils Melzer, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, said he was “crushed as a person”. 

What has the reaction been in Australia and around the world?

Pressure has been placed on the Australian government to intervene in Assange’s case. Senator Rex Patrick urged Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to make a case to the US Secretary of State while in isolation in the country, and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said Prime Minister Scott Morrison needed to pick up the phone and “end this lunacy”.

Newspaper editorials have also made the case for Canberra to discuss the matter with counterparts in Washington and London, and international bodies have pushed for Assange’s release.

The Sydney Morning Herald wrote: “Prime Minister Scott Morrison should encourage Mr Biden to free Mr Assange. There is a strong humanitarian and pragmatic case to look for a way out of this Kafkaesque nightmare”.

Anthony Bellanger, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, said the ruling was a “major blow”.

Others calling for his release have included Amnesty International, who said the “indictment poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad”.

What could happen now?

Following the successful appeal from the US, the judges ruled the case should return to Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a district judge to formally send it to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

But Ms Moris has said lawyers will push for the case to be referred up to the UK’s highest court, the Supreme Court.

His legal team have also suggested New Zealand act as a peacemaker between the various parties in the case.

The group, including New Zealand-based lawyer Craig Tuck, want Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to make representations to US President Joe Biden or UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to end the “politically motivated prosecution”.

“This is something our prime minister could address by picking up the phone to president Biden or prime minister Johnson and saying, ‘Hey, enough’s enough. Let’s bury the hatchet and not in Julian’s head’,” Mr Tuck told Radio NZ.

With additional reporting from AFP and AAP.  https://www.sbs.com.au/news/a-british-court-has-cleared-julian-assange-s-extradition-to-the-us-here-s-what-happens-next/03d8802e-798d-46fd-9359-eb70a052c30b

December 14, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Australian taxpayers up for $170 Billion, for American nuclear submarines. No problem?

Australia’s Aukus nuclear submarines could cost as much as $171bn, report finds

Australian Strategic Policy Institute report calls project ‘most complex endeavour Australia has embarked upon’ Guardian, Tory Shepherd, Tue 14 Dec 2021 

Australia’s eight planned nuclear submarines will cost $70bn at an “absolute minimum” and it’s “highly likely” to be more than that, defence analysts say.

With inflation, the cost could be as high as $171bn, according to a new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

The thinktank’s report contained a series of estimates ranging from low to high and conceded that estimating the final cost of the project is necessarily an “extremely assumption-rich activity”…………

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has said the planned nuclear-powered submarines, part of the Aukus deal with the United States and the United Kingdom, would likely cost more than the scrapped plan for conventional submarines, which would have cost $90bn……..

Australia will partner with either the US or the UK to buy their boat designs, and a nuclear-powered submarine taskforce is working through the details

“We haven’t determined the specific vessel that we will be building, but that will be done through the rather significant and comprehensive program assessment that will be done with our partners over the next 12 to 18 months,” Morrison said in September.

“Now, that will also inform the costs that relate to this, and they are yet to be determined.”

The authors of the Aspi report, Implementing Australia’s Nuclear Submarine Program, wrote that while the Aukus deal has seemed to move fast, the enterprise would still be “a massive undertaking and probably the largest and most complex endeavour Australia has embarked upon”.

“The challenges, costs and risks will be enormous. It’s likely to be at least two decades and tens of billions of dollars in sunk costs before Australia has a useful nuclear-powered military capability…….

The Aspi report co-author Dr Marcus Hellyer told Guardian Australia the government needed to work out its priorities and would need to balance capability needs, scheduling and the Australian industry content. He emphasised that picking which submarine to build was “secondary” to picking a strategic partner.

The US is building submarines at a rate 10 times higher than the UK, he said……….

The report canvasses other issues that will need to be resolved.

There are likely to be legislative changes needed to allow nuclear reactors in Australia. The government should consider appointing an internal nuclear regulator, an inspector general of nuclear safety, and how it will responsibly dispose of radioactive waste once the reactors that power the submarines reach the end of their useful lives……..https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/14/australias-aukus-nuclear-submarines-estimated-to-cost-at-least-70bn

December 14, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Prominent Indian activist Medha Patkar urges Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister to close down Kudankulam nuclear power station.


Medha Patkar urges Stalin to close nuclear plant at Kudankulam  
https://www.dtnext.in/News/TamilNadu/2021/12/14043718/1333730/Medha-Patkar-urges-Stalin-to-close-nuclear-plant-at-.vpf

 Dec 14,2021    Noted activist Medha Patkar met Chief Minister M. K. Stalin in Chennai on Monday and urged him to shut down the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

Chennai: “Radiation causes serious impact on human beings as well as aquatic species, and when there are over four nuclear plants (at Koodankulam nuclear plants) close to the sea, it is even more destructive,” said social activist Medha Patkar, while discussing environmental issues in Tamil Nadu, at Chennai press club on Monday.

Even as the opposition to the two units of nuclear power plants was continuing, they have started the construction of 3, 4, 5 and 6 units. In this situation, they are planning to begin the seventh and eighth unit and reprocessing plant said the national convener of the National Alliance of People’s Movement.Chennai: “Radiation causes serious impact on human beings as well as aquatic species, and when there are over four nuclear plants (at Koodankulam nuclear plants) close to the sea, it is even more destructive,” said social activist Medha Patkar, while discussing environmental issues in Tamil Nadu, at Chennai press club on Monday.


Even as the opposition to the two units of nuclear power plants was continuing, they have started the construction of 3, 4, 5 and 6 units. In this situation, they are planning to begin the seventh and eighth unit and reprocessing plant said the national convener of the National Alliance of People’s Movement.

December 14, 2021 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Nuclear power’s economic failure – a ”renaissance in reverse”

China is said to be the industry’s shining light but nuclear growth is modest ‒ an average of 2.1 reactor construction starts per year over the past decade.

Moreover, nuclear growth in China is negligible compared to renewables ‒ 2 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear power capacity were added in 2020 compared to 135 GW of renewables.

Nuclear power’s economic failure, Ecologist, Dr Jim Green, 13th December 2021
 A new report from Friends of the Earth Australia details the catastrophic cost overruns with nuclear power projects.

Despite the abundance of evidence that nuclear power is economically uncompetitive compared to renewables, the nuclear industry and some of its supporters continue to claim otherwise.

Those claims are typically based on implausible cost projections for non-existent reactor concepts. Moreover, the nuclear lobby’s claims about the cost of renewables are just as ridiculous.

Claims about ‘cheap’ nuclear power certainly don’t consider the real-world nuclear construction projects detailed in a new report by Friends of the Earth Australia.

Every power reactor construction project in Western Europe and the US over the past decade has been a disaster.

The V.C. Summer project in South Carolina (two AP1000 reactors) was abandoned after the expenditure of at least US$9 billion leading Westinghouse to file for bankruptcy in 2017.

Criminal investigations

Criminal investigations and prosecutions related to the V.C. Summer project are ongoing ‒ and bailout programs to prolong operation of ageing reactors in the US are also mired in corruption.

The only remaining reactor construction project in the US is the Vogtle project in Georgia (two AP1000 reactors). The current cost estimate of US$27-30+ billion is twice the estimate when construction began (US$14-15.5 billion).

Costs continue to increase and the Vogtle project only survives because of multi-billion-dollar taxpayer bailouts. The project is six years behind schedule…..

In 2006, Westinghouse said it could build an AP1000 reactor for as little as US$1.4 billion, 10 times lower than the current estimate for Vogtle.

The Watts Bar 2 reactor in Tennessee began operation in 2016, 43 years after construction began. When construction resumed in 2008 after a long hiatus, the cost estimate to complete the reactor was US$2.5 billion but the final completion cost was US$4.7 billion.

US nuclear renaissance in reverse

The previous reactor start-up in the US was Watts Bar 1, completed 20 years earlier (1996) after a 23-year construction period. Thus Watts Bar 1 and 2 are the only power reactor start-ups in the US over the past quarter-century.

In 2021, TVA abandoned the unfinished Bellefonte nuclear plant in Alabama, 47 years after construction began and following the expenditure of an estimated US$5.8 billion.

There have been no other power reactor construction projects in the US over the past 25 years other than those listed above.

Numerous other reactor projects were abandoned before construction began, some following the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars. Twelve reactors have been permanently shut down over the past decade with many more closures in the pipeline.

Western Europe

The only current reactor construction project in France is one EPR reactor under construction at Flamanville. The current cost estimate of €19.1 billion is 5.8 times greater than the original estimate.

The Flamanville reactor is 10 years behind schedule.

The only current reactor construction project in the UK comprises two EPR reactors under construction at Hinkley Point. In the late 2000s, the estimated construction cost for one EPR reactor in the UK was £2 billion.

The current cost estimate for two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point is £22-23 billion, over five times greater than the initial estimate.

In 2007, EDF boasted that Britons would be using electricity from an EPR reactor at Hinkley Point to cook their Christmas turkeys in 2017, but construction didn’t even begin until 2018.

Is China a shining light for nuclear power?

One EPR reactor (Olkiluoto-3) is under construction in Finland. The current cost estimate of about €11 billion is 3.7 times greater than the original estimate. Olkiluoto-3 is 13 years behind schedule.

Nuclear power is growing in a few countries, but only barely. China is said to be the industry’s shining light but nuclear growth is modest ‒ an average of 2.1 reactor construction starts per year over the past decade.

Moreover, nuclear growth in China is negligible compared to renewables ‒ 2 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear power capacity were added in 2020 compared to 135 GW of renewables.

There were only three power reactor construction starts in Russia in the decade from 2011 to 2020, and only four in India.

Nuclear vs renewables costs

Continue reading

December 14, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, politics international, technology | Leave a comment

Because Trump left the nuclear deal, we might have to learn to live with a nuclear Iran 

Because Trump left the nuclear deal, we might have to learn to live with a nuclear Iran  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/13/because-trump-left-nuclear-deal-we-might-have-learn-live-with-nuclear-iran/  By Max Boot

President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal might have been the most disastrous foreign policy miscalculation since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. (The only competitor for that dubious honor is the one-sided agreement that Trump concluded with the Taliban and that President Biden implemented.)

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran got rid of 97 percent of its nuclear fuel and limited its uranium enrichment to just 3.67 percent purity. Its “breakout” time to produce enough material to make a nuclear bomb was estimated to be more than a year.

Trump’s withdrawal allowed Iran to rev up its nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported last year that Iran had 12 times the amount of enriched uranium allowed under the deal. It is also enriching uranium to 60 percent purity, just short of the 90 percent needed to make nuclear weapons. Its breakout time has shrunk to as little as three weeks. It will take longer to manufacture the warheads needed to create nuclear weapons, but Iran is far closer to that dreaded milestone than it was in 2018.

Even former Israeli security officials, most of whom opposed President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal, now admit that pulling out of it has backfired. Benjamin Netanyahu’s former defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, said last month: “Looking at the policy on Iran in the last decade, the main mistake was the withdrawal of the U.S. administration from the agreement.” Former Mossad director Tamir Pardo described the pullout as a “tragedy.” Retired general Isaac Ben Israel, chairman of the Israeli Space Agency, called “Netanyahu’s efforts to persuade the Trump administration to quit the nuclear agreement … the worst strategic mistake in Israel’s history.”

Now they tell us.

The Biden administration has been trying to revive the nuclear deal. Talks are going on in Vienna. But Iran feels burned by Trump’s pullout, and its new hard-line president, Ebrahim Raisi, hasn’t shown much interest in compromise. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this month that “Iran right now does not seem to be serious about doing what’s necessary to return to compliance.”

That means the United States and Israel might be drawing closer to the decision they have long dreaded: Do they bomb Iran or allow Iran to get The Bomb? In the past, I would have said that bombing was the least-bad option, but I no longer believe that.

A nation of 85 million people, Iran is much larger and much stronger than the adversaries that America couldn’t defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan. And its nuclear program is far more advanced than those of Iraq or Syria when Israel bombed suspected nuclear facilities in those countries in 1981 and 2007, respectively.

The Iranian nuclear program is dispersed across dozens of hardened, hidden sites, all protected by a sophisticated air-defense system. The Fordow fuel enrichment plant is buried deep inside a mountain. Taking down Fordow, if it can be done at all, would probably require the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator. Israel does not have this bomb or the bomber — either a B-2 or B-52— needed to drop it.

The United States could, of course, provide Israel with these munitions, or it could bomb Iranian installations itself. But even successful strikes would only delay Iran’s nuclear program: You can eliminate nuclear facilities but not nuclear know-how.

Moreover, there is a real risk that any attack could trigger a larger Middle Eastern war. Iran would likely retaliate against U.S. forces in the region and against U.S. allies. Lebanese Hezbollah, for example, could rain down more than 100,000 missiles and rockets on Israel, enough to overwhelm its missile defenses. (In the 2006 Lebanon war, Hezbollah fired only 4,000 short-range rockets at Israel.) There’s a good reason no Israeli or American leader — not even hawks such as Netanyahu, George W. Bush and Trump — has been willing to bomb Iran. As I wrote in 2019, war with Iran could be “the mother of all quagmires.”

Letting Iran go nuclear, if that proves unavoidable, might actually be the less dangerous option. The Iranian regime has employed suicide bombers in the past, but it isn’t suicidal itself. Its leaders know that Israel has a large nuclear arsenal — including nuclear missiles reportedly deployed on submarines that could survive any attack on Israel. The United States could further deter Iran by explicitly extending its nuclear umbrella not only to Israel but also to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other neighboring states. Nuclear weapons would allow Iran to avert a U.S. invasion that isn’t going to happen anyway but would do nothing to protect the regime against the biggest danger it faces: an uprising from its own people.

The Biden administration should keep trying to peacefully stop the Iranian nuclear program, but that might no longer be possible because of Trump’s catastrophic decision to leave the accord. And if those efforts fail? Well, we have lived with nukes in the hands of other vile and abhorrent regimes, such as the Soviet Union/Russia, North Korea and China. If we have to, we could learn to live with a nuclear Iran, too.

December 14, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Taxpayer funding might not be enough to save USA’s failing new nuclear, specifically the ”Versatile Test Reactor”

Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects Stumble Despite White House Support, Forbes, 12 Dec 21,    During the COP26 climate conference, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that the United States is “all-in” on nuclear energy ………The White House supports an expansion for all next-generation nuclear reactors………..
All this is in the context of the U.S. House and Senate actions, where lawmakers “zeroed-out”  [reduce something to zero; eliminate or remove entirely]  funding for the so-called Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) at the Idaho National Laboratories. 

…. For now, Russia is the only country with a test reactor similar to VTR…… Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy industry gives it a guaranteed source of funding. In contrast, the United States’ private model requires investors to buy-in — not to mention the elected policymakers in a democratic system. …….  The Natrium facility, which Microsoft’s Bill Gates founded, is an electricity-generating reactor that is getting Energy Department support: $80 million, a small part of the overall cost. The goal is to have it up and running by 2030. 

VTR will not produce power for consumers. It is a test facility that can, for example, predict the long-term wear-and-tear on reactors through modeling.

But some experts say that VTR is too costly and that advanced nuclear reactors are unproven. The Union of Concerned Scientists says that the jury is still out as to whether those units can reduce costs, limit nuclear waste, burn uranium more efficiently, and strengthen safety. 

“Despite the hype surrounding them, none of the non-light-water reactors on the drawing board that we reviewed meet all of those requirements, says Dr. Edwin Lyman, a physicist and the director of nuclear power safety, in a report. “High-temperature, gas-cooled reactors may have the potential to be safer, but that remains unproven, and problems have come up during recent fuel safety tests.” ……

December 14, 2021 Posted by | technology | Leave a comment