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Release of treated water from Fukushima Daiichi: TEPCO applies for implementation plan to the Regulatory Commission

December 21, 2021

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has announced its plan for the release of treated water containing tritium and other radioactive substances that continues to accumulate at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) held a press conference on April 21 and announced that it has applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for an implementation plan in line with the government’s policy that the treated water that continues to accumulate at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant will be discharged into the sea in the spring of the next year after being diluted to a concentration below the standard.

The plan describes the procedure for diluting the treated water with seawater and the design of an undersea tunnel to be constructed to release the diluted water from 1 km offshore.

After receiving approval from the regulatory board and gaining the understanding of the local community and other related parties, the company plans to start construction of the equipment to dilute the treated water with seawater and the undersea tunnel around June next year, aiming to complete the work around the middle of April next year in accordance with the national policy.

Junichi Matsumoto, the executive officer of TEPCO who is in charge of the plan, said, “Based on the government’s policy, we would like to explain the plan to the local community and many related parties in parallel with the regulatory committee’s examination, and study specific designs and operations to ensure safety.

With regard to the release of treated water being promoted by the government and TEPCO, there are deep-rooted concerns about harmful rumors, especially among local residents, and the issues that remain to be addressed are how to gain the understanding of those concerned and how to take effective measures to deal with the rumors.

What is “treated water”?
At the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, so-called “contaminated water” is being generated at a rate of 140 tons per day, including water used to cool the nuclear fuel in Units 1-3 that melted down in the accident 10 years ago, as well as groundwater that flows into the buildings.

The contaminated water is treated in a special purification system to remove most of the radioactive materials, but the water containing tritium, a radioactive material that is difficult to remove, or “treated water,” remains and is stored on the plant grounds.

According to the current plan, 1.37 million tons of water can be stored in a large tank on the site, but more than 90% of the tank is already filled with treated water, and it is expected to be full after next fall.

Therefore, the government has decided to dilute the treated water to less than 1/40th of the standard by adding seawater and discharge it into the sea around the spring of 2023, as it is unlikely to affect human health if the concentration is reduced below the standard.

What is the outlook for the future?
The implementation plan applied for by TEPCO will be reviewed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will examine the plan, which includes the following: (1) measures against natural disasters, such as equipment to dilute the treated water with seawater and an undersea tunnel, and (2) a function to stop the release of water in case of abnormalities.

Toyoshi Sarada, chairman of the regulatory board, said, “There are no major technical difficulties in diluting and checking the concentration of the treated water, and it will not take a long time.

On the other hand, there are deep-rooted concerns about the release of treated water, especially in the local community, and Mr. Sarada pointed out that “the understanding of the local community and other related parties is extremely important, and even if the plan is approved, the period until the start of construction is unpredictable.

On April 20, TEPCO submitted a “Request for Prior Approval,” which is required for the construction of new facilities and expansion of facilities, to Fukushima Prefecture and the municipalities of Futaba and Okuma.

In addition, the construction work is expected to take about a year, so the government’s goal of releasing treated water in the spring of 2023 is still uncertain.

After TEPCO reported to fishermen in Iwaki that it had applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for a plan to release treated water, Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, said, “It’s unfortunate and frustrating that we have been opposed to the release of treated water into the ocean, but we are moving forward without hesitation. We want them to think of other ways. We have no choice but to send out the message that fishermen are against it.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/fukushima/20211221/6050016725.html?fbclid=IwAR3VlVNSI0PxYOuA9Kxpr1i7Eg836xnjIAzsC57-aWsok-fK0ep5RkYzSLU

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Bill Gates’ sodium-cooled ‘Natrium’ nuclear reactor design – strikingly like the disastrous reactors at Santa Susana Field Lab.

Most striking of all is the success of official campaigns asserting that even the most serious accidents have caused little or no harm

Spent Fuel, Harpers, by Andrew Cockburn, 20 Dec 21, The risky resurgence of nuclear power  ” ………………………….  Gates and other backers extoll the promise of TerraPower’s Natrium reactors, which are cooled not by water, as commercial U.S. nuclear reactors are, but by liquid sodium. This material has a high boiling point, some 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, which in theory enables the reactor to run at extreme temperatures without the extraordinary pressures that, in turn, require huge, expensive structures……………….

Woolsey fire in 2019 spread radiological contamination from the Santa Susana site

Prosperous and 70 percent white, West Hills, California, is one of the communities that have sprouted near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in the decades since the 1959 meltdown. Unlike the poor, sick, and embittered residents of Shell Bluff, people living in West Hills had until recently only the barest inkling that nuclear power in the neighborhood might have had unwelcome consequences. “Almost no one knew about the Santa Susanna Field Lab, or they thought it was an urban legend,” Melissa Bumstead, who grew up in nearby Thousand Oaks, told me recently. In 2014, Bumstead’s four-year-old daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. “This has no environmental link,” her pediatric oncologist told her firmly. Childhood cancers were rare, and this was just cruel luck.

Then, while taking Grace to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Bumstead ran into a woman who recognized her from the local park where their young daughters played. The woman’s child had neuroblastoma, another rare cancer, as did another from nearby Simi Valley, whom they encountered while the children were getting chemo. Back at home, someone on her street noticed the childhood cancer awareness sticker on Bumstead’s car and mentioned that another neighbor had died of cancer as a teenager.

Bumstead began to draw a map detailing the cluster of cancer deaths in small children just in the previous six years, but stopped working on it in 2017. “I had such severe PTSD when I added children onto it, my therapist told me to stop.” But it is still happening, she said, mentioning the unusual number of bald children she had noticed in local elementary schools in recent years, as well as the far-above-average rate of breast cancer cases recorded in the area. A cleanup of the field lab was due to be completed in 2017, but it has yet to begin.

I called Bumstead because I had been struck by the fact thatTerraPower’s Natrium reactor resembles in its basic features the long-ago Sodium Reactor Experiment at Santa Susana. (Natrium is Latin for sodium.) “That’s exactly what we had!” Bumstead exclaimed when I mentioned that liquid sodium is integral to TerraPower’s project. “The meltdown was in the sodium reactor.” As her comment made clear, such liquid sodium technology is by no means innovative.

Nor, in an extensive history of experiments, has it ever proved popular—not least because liquid sodium explodes when it comes into contact with water, and burns when exposed to air. In addition, it is highly corrosive to metal, which is one reason the technology was rapidly abandoned by the U.S. Navy after a tryout in the Seawolf submarine in 1957.

That system “was leaking before it even left the dock on its first voyage,” recalls Foster Blair, a longtime senior engineer with the Navy’s reactor program. The Navy eventually encased the reactor in steel and dropped it into the sea 130 miles off the coast of Maryland, with the assurance that the container would not corrode while the contents were still radioactive. The main novelty of the Natrium reactor is a tank that stores molten salt, which can drive steam generators to produce extra power when demand surges. “Interesting idea,” Blair commented. “But from an engineering standpoint one that has some real potential problems, namely the corrosion of the high-temperature salt in just about any metal container over any period of time.”

TerraPower’s Jeff Navin assured me in response that Natrium “is designed to be a safe, cost-effective commercial reactor.” He added that Natrium’s use of uranium-based metal fuel would increase the reactor’s safety and performance. Blair told me that such a system had been tried and abandoned in the Fifties because the solid fuel swelled and grew after fissioning.

As the sodium saga indicates, the true history of nuclear energy is largely unknown to all but specialists, which is ironic given that it keeps repeating itself. The story of Santa Susana follows the same path as more famous disasters, most strikingly in the studious indifference of those in charge to signs of impending catastrophe.The operators at Santa Susana shrugged off evidence of problems with the cooling system for weeks prior to the meltdown, and even restarted the reactor after initial trouble. Soviet nuclear authorities covered up at least one accident at Chernobyl before the disaster and ignored warnings that the reactor was dangerously unsafe. The Fukushima plant’s designers didn’t account for the known risk of massive tsunamis, a vulnerability augmented by inadequate safety precautions that were overlooked by regulators. Automatic safety features at Santa Susana did not work. This was also the case at Fukushima, where vital backup generators were destroyed by the tidal wave.

No one knows exactly how much radiation was released by Santa Susana—it exceeded the scale of the monitors. Nor was there any precise accounting of the radioactivity released at Chernobyl. Fukushima emitted far less, yet the prime minister of Japan prepared plans to evacuate fifty million people, which would have meant, as he later recounted, the end of Japan as a functioning state. Another common thread is the attempt by overseers, both corporate and governmental, to conceal information from the public for as long as possible. Santa Susana holds the prize in this regard: its coverup was sustained for twenty years, until students at UCLA found the truth in Atomic Energy Commission documents.

Most striking of all is the success of official campaigns asserting that even the most serious accidents have caused little or no harm……………………

“The right not to know” about the effects of nuclear power is currently embraced far beyond Fukushima. In the face of escalating alarm about climate change, the siren song of “clean and affordable and reliable” power finds an audience eager to overlook a business model that is dependent on state support and often greased with corruption; failed experiments now hailed as “innovative”; a pattern of artful disinformation; and a trail of poison from accidents and leaks (not to mention the 95,000 tons of radioactive waste currently stored at reactor sites with nowhere to go) that will affect generations yet unborn. Arguments by proponents of renewables that wind, solar, and geothermal power can fill the gap on their own have found little traction with policymakers. Ignoring history, we may be condemned to repeat it. Bill Gates has bet a billion dollars on that.  https://harpers.org/archive/2022/01/spent-fuel-the-risky-resurgence-of-nuclear-power/

December 21, 2021 Posted by | safety, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

USA puts pressure on Japan to not attend nuclear ban treaty meeting, not even as an observer

U.S. urges Japan not to join nuclear ban treaty meeting: sources  KYODO NEWS 20 Dec 21, The United States has urged Japan not to attend as an observer the first meeting of signatories to a U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons, according to U.S. government sources, reflecting Washington’s opposition to the pact.The Japanese government has suggested it will come into line with the United States and take a cautious approach to the issue, the sources said. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a parliamentary committee on Thursday that Tokyo has no “concrete plans” to attend the meeting as an observer.

The sources said the U.S. administration of President Joe Biden made the request to Japan through diplomatic channels after German political parties announced Nov. 24 that the deal for the new ruling coalition included taking part as an observer at the meeting scheduled for March in Vienna.

Maybe because of the request, Kishida also suggested last week that participation in the meeting would be premature “before building a relationship of trust with President Biden.”

Germany’s move has put Japan — which has stated it aspires to a world free of nuclear weapons as the only country to have suffered the devastation of atomic bombings — in the spotlight. Both countries are key U.S. allies that rely on American nuclear forces for protection.

The U.S. government has maintained its opposition to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in January this year, even as Biden has pledged to strive for a world without nuclear weapons………..

The U.S. government is also calling on the new three-party German government, launched in December, to give up on the idea of taking part in the March 22-24 meeting in Vienna, according to the sources.

The new U.N. treaty completely outlaws the development, testing, possession and use of nuclear weapons. It only binds states that have formally signed and ratified it.

More than 50 countries, including Austria, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa and Vietnam, have ratified the pact, according to the website of the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs.

But nuclear weapon states, including the United States, Russia and China, are not signatories. Japan has also refrained from signing the pact in consideration of its long-standing security alliance with the United States.  https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/12/54ab486540a3-us-urges-japan-not-to-join-nuclear-ban-treaty-meeting-sources.html

December 21, 2021 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Holtec gets approval to acquire and dismantle Palisades nuclear plant: not everyone is happy.


Holtec receives NRC approval to acquire Michigan nuclear plant

Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post 20 Dec 21,  CAMDEN – Holtec International has received an initial approval to acquire a nuclear power plant that it plans to decommission and dismantle.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the Camden firm “met the regulatory, legal, technical and financial requirements” to obtain the license for the Palisades plant in Covert, Michigan.

The NRC similarly supported a license transfer for a second Michigan site, the Big Rock Point facility. The Hayes Township plant has already been decommissioned, with only a fuel storage facility remaining, according to the NRC…………

opponents of the license transfer will “seriously consider” a court appeal of the NRC’s “shocking” decision, said Terry Lodge, an attorney for a coalition of environmental groups.

“We have been denied our due process rights,” claimed Michael Keegan of Don’t Waste Michigan, who said the NRC had denied a hearing “on our very serious environmental, health, safety, and fiscal concerns.”

Among other points, the critics question whether the power plants’ decommissioning trust funds will cover needed expenses. They also assert Holtec is tapping the trust funds for unrelated costs. https://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/2021/12/20/holtec-nrc-nuclear-power-plant-palisades-big-rock-point-michigan/8963723002/

December 21, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Establishment support, secrecy and corruption, in the promotion of dangerous nuclear power.

For all the hopeful talk about new technology, however, the industry’s principal concern is to keep aging reactors running long after their original life spans, even where this poses serious safety risks. In a process known as embrittlement, for example, vital components such as containment vessels crack following decades of neutron bombardment, leading to the release of lethal radiation. Nonetheless, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission appears happy to grant extensions: plants originally designed to last forty years are being authorized to run for sixty or eighty in total.

Spent FuelHarpers, by Andrew Cockburn, 20 Dec 21, The risky resurgence of nuclear power  ”………………………………………….Even groups long noted for opposing nuclear power, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club, seem quietly ready to temporize on practical matters, such as allowing existing plants to continue as transitional energy sources………..

The nuclear-power industry has long enjoyed establishment support. Navin was acting chief of staff at the Department of Energy under Barack Obama. The current energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, says that the Biden Administration plans to launch more nuclear energy projects across the country, and touts in particular Natrium’s promise of “345 megawatts of clean and affordable and reliable baseload power.” The White House climate czar, Gina McCarthy, stresses the need to keep existing plants in operation, as well as the prospects for “these small nuclear reactors, these modular reactors,” in which “people are really investing significant resources.” ……..

The State Department has launched an effort to foster similar small reactor programs abroad. Most significantly, even amid bitter fights over the administration’s infrastructure and social-reform bills, the inclusion of $41 billion of industry subsidies in the legislation has received unquestioning bipartisan backing. “………..

Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program, unveiled in 1953, set the optimistic tone for nuclear power:……………..

No such lyrical announcement marked the day in July 1959 when the Santa Susana Field Laboratory plant’s coolant system failed and its uranium oxide fuel rods began melting down. With the reactor running out of control and set to explode, desperate operators deliberately released huge amounts of radioactive material into the air for nearly two weeks, making it almost certainly the most dangerous nuclear accident in U.S. history. The amount of iodine-131 alone spewed into the southern California atmosphere was two hundred and sixty times that released at Three Mile Island, which is generally regarded as the worst ever U.S. nuclear disaster.

None of this was revealed to the public, who were told merely that a “technical” fault had occurred, one that was “not an indication of unsafe reactor conditions.” As greater Los Angeles boomed in the following years, the area around the reactor site—originally chosen for its distance from population centers—was flooded with new residents. No one informed them of the astronomical levels of radioactive contaminants seeded deep in the soil.

Meanwhile, utilities were commissioning scores of nuclear plants across the country and promising electricity “too cheap to meter,” incentivized by the 1957 Price-Anderson Act, which shifted financial liability in the event of a serious accident onto taxpayers. Rapid development throughout the Sixties engendered hopeful predictions from the AEC that more than a thousand reactors would be operating in the United States by the turn of the century. But it was not to be. As the environmental movement gathered strength in the Seventies, the dangers associated with nuclear power—from the routine disposal of radioactive waste to the risk of catastrophic meltdowns—galvanized a determined, informed, and organized opposition. Then, in 1979, one of two reactors at Three Mile Island had a partial meltdown. Officials from the president on down issued soothing reassurances, downplaying the health risks. Negative assessments were discouraged; when the Pennsylvania state health secretary, Gordon MacLeod, criticized the state’s response, he was promptly fired by the governor. MacLeod later revealed that child-mortality rates had doubled within a ten-mile radius of the plant. Cost overruns in plant construction, sometimes two times above industry estimates, were a further deterrent to expansion. Ultimately, more than 120 projects were canceled, and construction ground to a halt. “The failure of the U.S. nuclear power program ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster on a monumental scale,” Forbes magazine commented in 1985, a year before Chernobyl. “Only the blind, or the biased, can now think that most of the money has been well spent.”……….


In 1988, Hans Blix, the chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the United Nations that “the public should be aware that nuclear energy emits . . . no carbon dioxide whatever.” Given this assumption (which discounts the enormous quantities of carbon dioxide generated during plant construction), nuclear power’s high cost could be offset by rewarding its low emissions. 

Other partisans of nuclear power also recognized the relevance of climate alarms. This included Alex Flint,…….. In 2000, following a traditional trajectory for well-connected congressional staffers, he moved over to the private sector as a lobbyist and quickly recruited an impressive list of nuclear-industry clients, including Exelon Corporation………………..

Exelon was not alone in securing presidential favor. In February 2010, Obama announced $8.3 billion in loan guarantees for two new reactors known as Vogtle 3 and 4, to be built in Burke County, Georgia. “We will not achieve a big boost in nuclear capacity,” declared the president, “unless we also create a system of incentives to make clean energy profitable.” As is traditional with the placement of such industrial facilities, the new reactors were to be constructed adjacent to a poor black community. The neighborhood, Shell Bluff, was already racked by cancers that residents ascribed to existing nuclear facilities. Not surprisingly, they vehemently opposed the project. “We voiced our opinion,” one local resident told CNN. “We didn’t want them, but we’re just the little peons.” The president, they said, “doesn’t know we’re down here.”

Eleven years later, the Vogtle plants are still under construction……………..

Passing off additional costs to utility customers would appear to be a standard business model. It tends to require the complaisance of state legislators, who can demand and receive a high price for their favors—unseemly transactions that call into question the notion of “clean” nuclear energy. In November 2016, senior executives at Ohio’s FirstEnergy hatched plans to shunt more of the operating costs of their two nuclear plants onto individual customers.

As later detailed by an FBI criminal complaint, the scheme involved lubricating the election of a cooperative Republican legislator named Larry Householder as speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. To this end, $61 million moved via a series of dark money cutouts to Householder, who used the funds both for personal needs and for financing his campaign and those of allies who could supply the necessary votes for the rate increase.

It proved a sound investment. Householder was duly elected speaker and proceeded to pass a bill in 2019, with bipartisan support, that authorized $1 billion in rate supplements to bail out the company’s two Ohio plants. (One of these, Davis-Besse, outside Toledo, has a hair-raising safety record, including a hole in the reactor vessel and cracks in its concrete containment shell.) Although the bill canceled existing mandates for renewable energy, proponents were eloquent in their concern for the climate. Representative Jamie Callender, for example, who got just under $25,000 from FirstEnergy and served as a primary sponsor of the bill, spoke piously of the need to encourage “zero carbon emissions.” A FirstEnergy spokesman applauded Callender and other sponsors “for their efforts in recognizing the important and vital role nuclear energy, along with many other clean energy sources, plays in providing clean, safe, and reliable carbon-free energy to Ohioans.”

Unfortunately for the plotters, the FBI had monitored their deliberations. Following disclosure of the bribery scheme, public outrage led to a repeal of the bailout. Householder, indicted along with four associates, denies the charges and has yet to go to trial. FirstEnergy, none of whose employees faced criminal charges, agreed to a $230 million fine, and its generating unit was spun off under the name Energy Harbor. (“We call it Pirates’ Cove,” joked the Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, who has been litigating cases related to Davis-Besse since 1979.)

While Energy Harbor saw its scheme collapse, Exelon has suffered no such setback in pursuit of bailouts through similar means. A federal investigation revealed that an Exelon subsidiary lavished favors in the form of jobs and contracts on associates of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, long the most powerful politician in the state, and was rewarded with beneficial legislation, most notably a $2.35 billion subsidy enacted in 2016, for two money-losing reactors that the company had discussed closing. The subsidiary agreed to pay a $200 million fine, which was more than balanced by the $694 million subsidy signed into law by J. B. Pritzker in September 2021, a response to Exelon’s threats to close two other aging plants—one of which appears to have generated a significant cancer cluster in its neighborhood. Though the Sierra Club opposes nuclear energy, the Illinois chapter supported that legislation because of the measures it included to phase out coal and gas sources. The Illinois bailout is far eclipsed, however, by the federal largesse promised by the Biden Administration’s infrastructure and climate legislation. An analysis by the Nuclear Information and Resource Service suggests that 54 percent of the $41 billion will be split between just three companies, with Exelon set to receive $15 billion. (Energy Harbor is the runner-up, with $5 billion.)

For all the hopeful talk about new technology, however, the industry’s principal concern is to keep aging reactors running long after their original life spans, even where this poses serious safety risks. In a process known as embrittlement, for example, vital components such as containment vessels crack following decades of neutron bombardment, leading to the release of lethal radiation. Nonetheless, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission appears happy to grant extensions: plants originally designed to last forty years are being authorized to run for sixty or eighty in total. Point Beach 2, a reactor on Lake Michigan that the NRC itself listed in 2013 among the most embrittled plants in the country, is applying to be relicensed to operate for eighty years. The reactor and its twin, Point Beach 1, have been cited for safety violations and equipment malfunctions more than 130 times. At the NRC, there is even discussion of allowing plants to run for a century, long after their designers and builders are dead. “None of these extreme extensions have addressed critical ‘knowledge gaps’ for the reliability of major irreplaceable and inaccessible systems,” said Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear, a tireless watchdog group working to challenge the extensions. In his view, the industry is being allowed to head blindly into the unknown, with no idea how or when age-related cracking and embrittlement will lead to component failure and potential meltdown……………….  https://harpers.org/archive/2022/01/spent-fuel-the-risky-resurgence-of-nuclear-power/

December 21, 2021 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Report:  “Moving Beyond Missile Defense and Space Weapons”

Report of the International Working Group “Moving Beyond Missile Defense and Space Weapons”http://inesglobal.net/MBMDS-report/

Read the executive summary of the report: Executive Summary MDMDS-Report.

On November 20, 2000, the U.N. General Assembly, by a vote of 97 to 0 with 65 abstentions, adopted a resolution demanding a comprehensive approach to missiles that would “contribute to international peace and security.” The resolution gave impetus to civil society to take up the issue. One such initiative was a project by the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation (INESAP)1. They produced a report called Beyond Missile Defense by an international team of scientists and policy analysts. Jayantha Dhanapala, then U.N. Under-Secretary General for Disarmament, forwarded the report to the U.N. General Assembly in 2002. They made a number of far-reaching recommendations, summarized later, to develop a verifiable global treaty to ban the development, testing, proliferation, and the acquisition of missiles.

It has been two decades since the above-mentioned U.N. resolution and the publication of the INESAP report. During this time there has been little or no action toward controlling missiles and missile defense systems. On the contrary, a signal event took place within a short time after the U.N. resolution. It was the U.S. unilateral withdrawal on July 1, 2002 from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which served for thirty years as a landmark in the history of arms control agreements. In the post-ABM treaty years, there has been proliferation of both missiles and missile defense systems. Our focus for this report is global missile defense systems, because of their adverse impact on strategic stability.

Similar to the previous effort, INES organized anew an international working group in the summer of 2016 to study the consequences for international peace and security resulting from both the ongoing development and deployment of missile defense systems globally as well as the programs to develop weapons in space. From the start, the group reached a conclusion that, as desirable as it might be, it would not be practical to advocate a global missile ban in the present internationa

l situation. The focus instead should be on banning missile defense systems and space weapons. In a nutshell, this report focuses on two subject areas, namely, missile defense and the weaponization of space. It explores the linkages between the two in the larger context of nuclear arms control and disarmament.

The membership of the working group is described elsewhere. It is important to note that the membership represents a broad spectrum of people who are individually affiliated to civil society organizations and universities. Some are former government officials and others are independent analysts.

Because of unforeseen circumstances, the work of the group could not proceed as planned. The present report is the product of mostly individual efforts in writing specific sections. In addition to the members of the original group, who contributed to the report, we invited several scholars outside the group to contribute. While we generally agree on the broad parameters of our analysis, it is by no means a consensus document. Therefore, the views expressed in the articles are solely those of the respective authors.

Download the Sections of the Report

  1. The 2001-2006 INESAP project Moving Beyond Missile Defense
    A brief summary – Jürgen Scheffran
  2. The U.S. missile defense systems – history, politics, waste, and fraud
    1. Why does Missile Defense Still Enjoy Bipartisan Support in Congress? – Subrata Ghoshroy
    2. The Price for Blowing the Whistle – Subrata Ghoshroy
  3. The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
    The impact of the ABM treaty on the nuclear arms race – Claus Montonen
  4. The U.S. missile defense programs
    The status of the U.S. missile defense programs – Christian Alwardt
  5. European and NATO Missile Defense Programs
    The Deployment of missile defense systems and its implications for European Security and Nuclear Disarmament – Götz Neuneck

  1. Missile proliferation and missile defense systems in East Asia
    Missile Proliferation and the Security Dilemma in East Asia – Masako Ikegami
  2. A critical examination of the U.S. missile defense program: a view from Moscow
    Evolution of the U.S, Missile Defense Systems: a Russian Perspective – Vladimir Kozin
  3. Ballistic Missile and Missile Defense programs in India
    Ballistic Missile and Ballistic Missile Defense capability in India – Rajaram Nagappa
  4. The evolution of the public perception of space as a battleground
    Public Acceptance of Space as a Battleground – Monica Zoppe
  5. Preventing weaponization and an arms race in outer space
    Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space: obstacles and options – Dave Webb and Jürgen Scheffran
  6. Weaponization of space: a view from India
    India and weaponization of space – Rajaram Nagappa
  7. The interchangeability of antisatellite and missile defense systems
    Anti-Satellite Weapons and Ballistic Missile Defense: the Siamese Twins? – Dave Webb and Jürgen Scheffran
  8. Weaponization of space: a Russian view
    The United States seeks domination in space – Vladimir Kozin
  9. Nuclear weapons, disarmament, and missile defense: a Chinese perspective
    China’s nuclear weapons strategy and modernization program – Hui Zhang
  10. The Pentagon’s secret X-37B space plane program tocdevelop space weapons technology
    X-37B: Backdoor weaponization of space? – Subrata Ghoshroy
  11. International Control of Delivery Systems: Towards a Ballistic Missile Ban
    Jürgen Scheffran

Do you want to have printed copies of the executive summary of the report?

Please contact us at lucas.wirl@inesglobal.net.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France and Germany – opposite attitudes to nuclear power

Is nuclear energy green? France and Germany lead opposing camps.

The French government wants to build reactors. The German government wants to shut them down. WP 19 Dec 21,

”………………….. France is leading a group of mostly central and eastern European countries that are pushing the European Union to add modern nuclear energy to a list of “environmentally sustainable economic activities.”

…………. The president of the surrounding Alsace region, Frédéric Bierry, has urged Macron to consider Fessenheim as a possible future site, calling the old plant’s closure a “financial,” “social” and “economic” scandal in the face of a warming climate.

But one of the biggest obstacles — for Fessenheim and for Macron’s broader plans — lies about half a mile to the east of the town’s old nuclear plant. That’s where France ends and Germany begins.

The new German economy and climate minister, Green party member Robert Habeck, was among the politicians who signed a statement celebrating the closure of the Fessenheim plant. The German government has argued that nuclear plants are too risky, and too slow and costly to build, to be a solution to the climate crisis. Germany’s outlook is influenced by nuclear accidents, such as the 2011 Fukushima meltdown in Japan. And Berlin points to reports like one this past week, of cracks in the pipes at a French nuclear reactor, as evidence that plant safety remains a problem.

Germany is among a group of skeptics, including Denmark and Austria, that wants Europe to shut down its remaining nuclear plants and that fiercely oppose a climate-friendly designation for nuclear power, which would signal to green investors that nuclear energy is worthy of financing.

The controversy may come to a head within days, with the European Commission expected to make a decision just before its Christmas break.

………………………………… Environmental activists in Germany acknowledge that continued reliance on coal is a problem even in the medium term. But they are optimistic about how quickly the country can ramp up alternative energy.

Germany’s Green party, in its position as part of the new ruling coalition, has vowed to increase spending significantly on renewables and to limit energy price spikes for consumers. It wants renewables to account for 80 percent of electricity by 2030, up from the present target of about 50 percent.

For German politicians and activists, the idea of nuclear power as green or sustainable is anathema. They talk about the potential for accidents with catastrophic environmental consequences. They note the problems associated with the long-term storage of deadly radioactive waste. They say they don’t want to draw investment away from wind and solar.

German anti-nuclear and environmental activist Stefan Auchter said his country’s path will be validated when the next Chernobyl or Fukushima comes. He compared the use of nuclear energy to playing Russian roulette……………………….  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/12/18/nuclear-energy-climate-france-germany/

December 21, 2021 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Plight of Fukushima’s fishermen

In April 2021, the Japanese government decided to discharge radioactive
water stored inside the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into
the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO’s plan is to build a pipeline along the ocean
bed and release diluted processed radioactive water 1 km off the coast of
Fukushima. In November, Greenpeace conducted its 33rd Fukushima radiation
survey since the nuclear disaster, during which we had the opportunity to
interview local fisherman Mr. Haruo Ono. Mr. Ono opens up about the pain he
feels, saying that discharging radioactive water into the ocean will throw
Fukushima’s fishing industry back down into the abyss.

 Greenpeace 20th Dec 2021

December 21, 2021 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

USA has 85,000 metric tons of spent fuel from nuclear power plants, 90 million gallons of weapons wastes – robots to the rescue.

 There’s over 85,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel from commercial
nuclear power plants, and 90 million gallons of waste from government
weapons programs in the U.S. today, according to the Government
Accountability Office.

That number is rapidly growing. Every year, we add
2,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel. Disposing and handling nuclear
waste is a dangerous task that requires precision and accuracy. Researchers
from the National Centre for Nuclear Robotics led by the Extreme Robotics
Lab at the University of Birmingham in the UK are finding ways to help
humans and robots work together to get the job done.

The researchers have
developed a system using a standard industrial robot that uses a parallel
jaw gripper to handle objects and an Ensenso N35 3D cameras to see the
world around it. The team’s system involves allowing humans to make more
complex decisions that AI isn’t equipped to do, while the robot
determines how to best perform the tasks. The team uses three kinds of
shared control.

 The Robot Report 18th Dec 2021

December 21, 2021 Posted by | technology, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Iran holds air defence drill near Bushehr nuclear plant

Iran holds air defence drill near Bushehr nuclear plant

Drill comes days after latest round of talks in Vienna to restore Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers ended without an agreement.  Aljazeera,  Maziar Motamedi 20 Dec
2021

Tehran, Iran – Iran has held an air defence drill in the vicinity of its southwestern Bushehr nuclear power plant amid ongoing tensions over the country’s nuclear programme.

State media reported that the drill was conducted in the early hours of Monday to the south of the Bushehr province and also over parts of the Persian Gulf.

The drill comes days after the latest round of talks in Vienna to restore Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers which ended with some modest gains but no agreement.

Israel has opposed efforts to revive the 2015 deal, which lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme and has continued to threaten direct military action against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Nournews, a media outlet close to Iran’s security forces, reported last week that security forces assess there may be a credible possibility Israel would launch an attack in an effort to thwart the talks in Vienna.

On Monday, it quoted Gholamali Rashid, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Khatam al-Anbiya military base, as also mentioning the Vienna talks, and adding that any potential Israeli attack

would not be possible without the US giving its approval………..

The Natanz facilities were the target of two main sabotage attacks, which Iran blamed on Israel, in 2020 and 2021. There was also another sabotage attack in June, also blamed on Israel, on a centrifuge parts assembly workshop in Karaj near capital Tehran.

The seventh round of nuclear talks in Vienna between Iran and the world powers party to the accord the US abandoned in 2018 closed with modest progress on Friday. Talks are expected to resume in the coming days before the end of the current year.

Iran and Western powers have so far been at odds in the talks over which sanctions need to be lifted, and what measures Iran needs to take to scale back down its advancing nuclear programme. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/12/20/iran-holds-air-defence-drill-over-bushehr-nuclear-plant

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Iran, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons: Assessing Risks

Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons: Assessing Risks, Insights from Herbert Lin. The Diplomat By Mercy A. Kuo, December 20, 2021   Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Dr. Herbert S. Lin – senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and Hank J. Holland Fellow in Cyber Policy and Security at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University, and author of newly published “Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons” (Stanford University Press, 2021)  ̶  is the 301st in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”

Define key elements of the U.S. nuclear enterprise.

The nuclear enterprise consists of everything that touches nuclear weapons issues, including nuclear weapons design and stewardship; nuclear delivery systems (e.g., missiles, submarines, bombers); nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3); nuclear planning and decision-making; and nuclear operations. Information technologies (also known as computing and communications technologies) are critical for all of these elements of the nuclear enterprise.

Identify plausible cyber risk scenarios of the U.S. nuclear enterprise. irst, an adversary may conduct a deliberate cyberattack against some element(s) of the U.S. nuclear enterprise that could compromise the U.S. ability to use its nuclear weapons when appropriate (e.g., in retaliation). A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office probed cyber vulnerabilities in U.S. weapons systems (including some nuclear systems), noting that the Department of Defense routinely finds mission-critical cyber vulnerabilities during operational testing of weapons systems that are under development, pointing out that “using relatively simple tools and techniques, testers were able to take control of systems and largely operate undetected.” Exploitation of such vulnerabilities could cripple nuclear weapons delivery systems on the ground or in flight.

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review also identifies adversary offensive cyber capabilities as creating new challenges and potential vulnerabilities for U.S. NC3, calling out challenges to network defense, authentication, data integrity, and secure, assured, and reliable information flow. Compromises to NC3 could disconnect the National Command Authority from U.S. nuclear forces, fail to provide warning of incoming nuclear attack, or falsely signal the existence of a nuclear attack.

A second type of cyber risk arises from the integration of nuclear and nonnuclear capabilities, which is often enabled by computing and communications technology. Such integration likely raises the risk of inadvertent nuclear escalation in times of conflict. For example, integrating nuclear and conventional systems confers operational advantages in warfighting, and is also generally less expensive than acquiring separate nuclear and conventional systems. But such advantages trade off against an increased possibility that cyberattacks directed against a dual-purpose system for non-nuclear reasons could be interpreted by U.S. decision-makers as an attack on U.S. nuclear capabilities, especially if those cyberattacks are coming from another nuclear power. Thus, they may feel more pressure to escalate up the nuclear ladder.

A second scenario is based on the fact that cyberattacks and cyber espionage/intelligence gathering use the same penetration techniques and differ only in what they seek to accomplish. Thus, any given cyber penetration carries with it an unknown potential for attack, for intelligence gathering, or both. A cyber penetration from China or Russia detected in U.S. NC3 system could be part of a relatively benign attempt to gather intelligence, or it could be the start of a serious cyberattack that is intended to degrade NC3. But it is impossible for U.S. decision-makers to know China’s or Russia’s intention before we observe the actual results of the penetration. If the United States detects a cyber penetration of its NC3 during a crisis or during the initial phases of a kinetic conflict, U.S. decision-makers may jump to a worst-case assessment.

Analyze the capabilities of China and North Korea in generating cyber nuclear risks.

Chinese and North Korean capabilities to generate cyber risks to the U.S. nuclear enterprise are not known in the unclassified literature. However, it is known that Chinese offensive cyber capabilities are world-class, and North Korea’s capabilities are substantial, even if not necessarily on a par with China’s at every level and for every contingency.

Furthermore, certain operational scenarios involving China in particular implicate a number of dual-purpose systems. ……………. https://thediplomat.com/2021/12/cyber-threats-and-nuclear-weapons-assessing-risks/

December 21, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Archbishop calls for nuclear disarmament

Archbishop calls for nuclear disarming, Santa fe New Mexican By Robert Nott rnott@sfnewmexican.com, Dec 20 , 2021   

Looking up at the sky as a young teen one day in Daly City, Calif., Archbishop John C. Wester had one thought as he saw military planes overheard.

Were they ours, or were they Russian planes?

The year was 1962, perhaps the first time nuclear war between the two superpowers seemed likely to erupt as the Cuban Missile Crisis played out and students were taught to prepare for an atomic attack by diving under their desks at schools.

“I don’t think going under our desks was very helpful,” Wester said Sunday in Santa Fe, moments before issuing a call for the world to rid itself its nuclear weapons.

Now, some 60 years later, he said he wants to do more to end the threat of an atomic war. Wester spoke and prayed during a 30-minute prayer service and ceremony at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe before he unveiled a sign bearing an image of Pope Francis and a quote uttered by the pope in Hiroshima in 2020: “The possession of nuclear arms is immoral.”

Wester said “our archdiocese needs to be facilitating, encouraging an ongoing conversation” about nuclear disarmament.

He urged people to “pray for God’s intervention” to keep that conversation going.

At least 125 people were present for the service, many bearing roses in honor of the Lady of Guadalupe. Among them was Karen Weber, who said it’s “highly symbolic” for Wester to speak out on the “abolishment of nuclear weapons.”

The shrine is across the street from the Firestone building at West Alameda and Guadalupe streets in downtown Santa Fe, where Los Alamos National Laboratory recently opened a small office. The proximity of the two locales was not lost on Mary Riseley, who described herself as a Quaker and an Episcopalian and who handed out roses to participants in Sunday’s event.

Calling Wester a “prophet in the Catholic Church,” she said it’s important for him to stand up “for peace and understanding” during these times of turmoil.

In his comments, Wester alluded to the growing tension around the Russia-Ukraine border and said there are at least “40 active conflicts in the world.”

“We need to be instruments of peace,” he said, especially as we head into the Christmas season, a “season of peace.”

The current arms race, he said “is more ominous” than any that came before……..   https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/archbishop-calls-for-nuclear-disarming/article_0aabf9f0-60e8-11ec-9e5f-5f7820707fca.html

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The French government asked EDF for earlier restart of nuclear reactors (now on maintenance)

 The French government asked Electricite de France SA to restart some
nuclear reactors earlier than planned in order to help with a winter energy
crunch across Europe. Ecology Minister Barbara Pompili said on France Info
radio that she had asked EDF Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy in a
meeting on Friday to restart more quickly than planned some reactors that
were halted for maintenance and scheduled to restart in mid-January.

 Bloomberg 19th Dec 2021

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-19/french-government-asks-edf-to-restart-nuclear-reactors-early

December 21, 2021 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

U.S. congressional delegation arrives in Ukraine to discuss threat of war with Russia — Anti-bellum

US Congress delegation arrives in Ukraine to discuss threat of war with RussiaA group of congressmen announced Washington’s readiness to take tough measures in response to any encroachment on sovereign Ukrainian territory *** “Representative Jason Crow led a U.S. Congressional delegation to Kyiv to discuss Russia’s aggressive military buildup in and around Ukraine and hear […]

U.S. congressional delegation arrives in Ukraine to discuss threat of war with Russia — Anti-bellum

December 21, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment