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What’s plan B if the government can’t attract investors willing to fund Sizewell C?

What’s plan B if the government can’t attract investors willing to fund Sizewell C?  Guardian Nils Pratley  27 Jan 22
. Development money for nuclear power station is an attempt to draw in investors that could replace China’s CGN sum of £100m is peanuts in the expensive world of nuclear power stations, so regard the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s funding for a round of development work on Sizewell C as a form of advertising. The cash is intended to send a message that the government is serious about getting the plant built in Suffolk. And it is an appeal for outside investors to volunteer to sit alongside developer EDF, the French state-backed group.

There was also a definition of a desirable investor: “British pension funds, insurers and other institutional investors from like-minded countries”. Note the nationality test. It is the closest we have come to official confirmation that China General Nuclear (CGN), originally slated for a 20% stake in Sizewell, will be kicked off the project. It remains to be seen how, legally, the government will rip up the 2015 deal with CGN signed by David Cameron’s government, but the intention is clear.

So, too, is the intended funding mechanism. It will be a regulated asset base (RAB) model, a version of the formula used at Heathrow Terminal 5 and the Thames Tideway giant sewer. The key point for investors is that they will see some income before Sizewell is built, unlike at Hinkley Point C where EDF and CGN earn their princely cashflows only when the electricity starts to flow.

What, though, if those British and like-minded institutions still refuse to play? Nuclear represents unknown territory for most of them. What if competition to invest, which is meant to be the other way in which RAB lowers financing costs, doesn’t materialise? What’s the government’s plan B?

The only possible solution is for the state to invest directly. If that is so, wouldn’t it be better to run an upfront benchmarking exercise at the outset to compare the numbers? Sizewell, unfortunately, is probably inevitable given the current panic over high gas prices and long-term energy security. But taxpayers, on the hook anyway via household bills, deserve to know that the odd billion or three isn’t being diverted unnecessarily to intermediaries.

By the time Sizewell’s sums become enormous, transparency will be essential…….

January 31, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Leaders say nuclear will save Kemmerer. Residents aren’t convinced.

when TerraPower announced in November that it would build a first-of-its-kind sodium-cooled nuclear reactor at the town’s Naughton Power Plant, community leaders exhaled at last. The project promised a lifeline, not just to the town, but to similarly coal-dependent Wyoming.

The people who claimed they didn’t have much to say about the project, the ones who actually had a lot to say — a lot of them didn’t feel like trailblazers. They felt more like guinea pigs.

Many were suspicious. Why, they asked, would TerraPower stick its flagship project in such a tiny, remote town? Was it because they were too desperate to protest? Too isolated for anyone to care if things went awry?…….

Leaders say nuclear will save Kemmerer. Residents aren’t convinced. Casper Star Tribune 
Nicole Pollack,  Jan 29, 2022 
The Star-Tribune visited Kemmerer this month to talk with the community about TerraPower’s nuclear plant. Energy reporter Nicole Pollack and photographer Lauren Miller will continue reporting from Kemmerer as the project develops.Roaming Kemmerer, asking people about the planned nuclear reactor, I expected excitement. Or trepidation. Or anger.

Apathy wasn’t on the list.

“We don’t really talk about it,” a retired miner told me as his fellow retirees — former coal miners and quarry workers and power plant operators — heckled one another around a senior center pool table.

Most of the Kemmerer residents I met said the same thing. They were familiar with the plan to replace their half-century-old coal plant with a nuclear reactor; did I know Bill Gates was behind it? Everyone, they assured me, was aware. They just didn’t have much more to say.

The energy sector is always changing, the miner said, and people in Kemmerer are used to riding out those booms and busts. Another boom isn’t anything special. So the project doesn’t come up in conversation very often.

He discusses it with his wife sometimes, though. The two of them speculate, nervously, about how a nuclear plant might change the tiny town they’ve called home for decades.

Coal’s demise hangs heavy over Kemmerer, and when TerraPower announced in November that it would build a first-of-its-kind sodium-cooled nuclear reactor at the town’s Naughton Power Plant, community leaders exhaled at last. The project promised a lifeline, not just to the town, but to similarly coal-dependent Wyoming. Gov. Mark Gordon proudly unveiled the project last summer during a celebratory press conference featuring a video message from Gates himself. 

We’re absolutely ecstatic,” Mayor Bill Thek told me after Kemmerer was chosen.

The miner and his wife aren’t so sure. While they agree Kemmerer needs an economic boost of some kind, a replacement for its fading coal sector, they’re not sure whether a next-generation reactor will be the right answer. They’d rather keep burning coal.

I asked a lot of people in Kemmerer about the nuclear plant. At first, most sounded unconcerned, almost indifferent: “I don’t have much to say about it.”

But, it turned out, they usually did………………..

Maybe, another offered, the company was already starting to build the plant itself.

He hoped construction hadn’t started. There were still too many unknowns, he told me. The town wasn’t ready for nuclear; not by a long shot. He didn’t know if it would ever be.

Life after coal

Gillette, Rock Springs, Glenrock and Kemmerer — the four communities considered for TerraPower’s first nuclear reactor — are all coal towns. But in Kemmerer, the victor, founded in 1867 near the coal mine that gave the town its name, coal has always been king.

Much of the younger workforce has opted to work at the gas plant, or even at the fossil quarries, over the coal plant, in the hopes that those jobs will last even after coal is gone. And Kemmerer and Diamondville are trying to put themselves on the map — on tourists’ lucrative radar — for their fossils………………………………………

TerraPower and Rocky Mountain Power had convened roughly 40 high-profile community leaders, including elected officials, town managers, school and hospital administrators and police officers, in the Best Western conference room for a question-and-answer luncheon.

…………………   they [the community]  also know about the plant’s “aggressive” seven-year time limit — a condition of the company’s nearly $2 billion Department of Energy grant. And, as the meeting wrapped up, they wanted to know: How sure was TerraPower that the project would succeed?…..

Why us?

In the Best Western conference room, the descriptor of choice was “demonstration.” Outside of that room, at the senior center and the bowling alley and the booths at Place on Pine, the nuclear plant was “experimental.”

The people who claimed they didn’t have much to say about the project, the ones who actually had a lot to say — a lot of them didn’t feel like trailblazers. They felt more like guinea pigs.

Many were suspicious. Why, they asked, would TerraPower stick its flagship project in such a tiny, remote town? Was it because they were too desperate to protest? Too isolated for anyone to care if things went awry?…….

There will be protests,” I was told several times. No one who said it wanted to participate themselves — I didn’t meet anyone who did — but they were suresomeone would…………………………………. 

January 31, 2022 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

Map shows the horrible impact a nuclear bomb would have on Coventry

Map shows the horrible impact a nuclear bomb would have on Coventry

We used NUKEMAP to find out the effects nuclear bombs would have on Coventry, Coventry Live, ByJaspreet Kaur,  30 Jan 22, t’s a chilling thought – but have you ever wondered what would happen if a nuclear bomb was suddenly detonated in Coventry as part of an attack on the UK?

CoventryLive has used specialist research to find out what would happen if a nuclear bomb hit the city.

The website NUKEMAP calculates the effects of the detonation of a nuclear bomb. And although of course none has ever hit the UK before, they were used to terrible effect in Japan at the end of the Second World War.

And of course our city faced dreadful destruction in Nazi bombing raids.

The website that now looks into the horrifying impact a nuclear disaster could have was created by Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science who specialises in the history of nuclear weapons and nuclear secrecy.

He created Nukemap in February 2012, and it has been used by over 25 million people globally since its launch.

In one experiment, we looked at what happened if ‘Davy Crockett’ detonated in our city – one of the smallest nuclear bombs ever built in the United States……………

all-in-all the impact of the smallest US bomb is very bad in real terms, but relatively small for a nuclear attack. Wr then looked at a much larger bomb.

And chillingly, the ‘Gadget’ bomb was found to have a much more awful impact.

If detonated in Coventry city centre this particular bomb would cause thermal radiation to several Coventry areas, including Earlsdon Cheylsmore , Ball Hill and Daimler Green .

It would also cause moderate blast damage to areas further afield, such as Radford Coundon Whitley and Styvechale .

In total, the number of estimated injuries would rise significantly to 48,060 with 23,900 estimated fatalities. Which is terrifying.

The test may seem arid – but the threat of nuclear war hung over the world for decades during the Cold War.
There are still around 3,750 active nuclear warheads and nearly 14,000 total nuclear warheads in the world today……………………………

January 31, 2022 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

West Virginia public weighs in on nuclear power plant prohibition repeal .

Public weighs in on nuclear power plant prohibition repeal    The Weirton Daily Times, 30 Jan 22

STEVEN ALLEN ADAMS STAFF WRITER, CHARLESTON —With lawmakers on the cusp of removing a more than 25-year-old ban on nuclear energy in West Virginia, members of the House of Delegates received input from the public Friday.

The House Government Organization Committee held a public hearing in the House of Delegates chamber Friday morning on Senate Bill 4, repealing sections of the state code banning the construction of nuclear power plants in West Virginia………

The bill would remove two sections of code banning the construction of new nuclear power plants except under certain circumstances. The ban has been in place since 1996.

Supporters of the bill include the West Virginia Manufacturers Association and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. …………………

Opposition to the bill united two sides normally fighting each other: the coal industry and environmental activists. ……….

Hannah King, a lobbyist with the West Virginia Environmental Council, read a prepared statement on behalf of Gary Zuckett, executive director of the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, due to Zuckett being quarantined for a COVID-19 infection. Zuckett, who advocated for the 1996 ban on nuclear power, said even with improvements in technology the state should take its time before repealing the ban.

“We need climate solutions now, not in 10 years,” King said on behalf of Zuckett. “The prudent thing to do would be to put these bills on hold, assemble an interim study, gather experts on both sides of this critical issue, and make a measured and informed decision. If we’re going to open up West Virginia to nuclear power, let’s do it with proper regulations and safeguards for its people, economy and environment.”………………

January 31, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Montana communities have better options than nuclear power.

We have better options than nuclear,   Jeff Havens, 30 Jan 22,

Voter voices were silenced last spring by legislators and the governor on the topic of whether nuclear fission reactors and their highly radioactive waste can be located within our communities. Simultaneously, a separate but related law was enacted for the state to study “small advanced nuclear reactors.”

Contrary to their myopic moves, the Union of Concerned Scientists reported “newly built reactors must be demonstrably safer and more secure …. Unfortunately, most ‘advanced’ nuclear reactors are anything but. … for any reactor concept it is critical to understand that ‘burning’ spent fuel first entails reprocessing to separate out and re-use plutonium and other weapon-usable materials. Reprocessing makes these materials more accessible for use in nuclear weapons by states or terrorists….”

I hate to think that some “recycled” material from such reactors could be diverted into manufacturing nuclear weapons to be leveraged by domestic states or terrorists during the next coup attempt on our nation. This alarming possibility is amplified when one considers federal seditious conspiracy indictment of Oath Keepers founder and leader Elmer Rhodes, who is a former Montana attorney and resident.

We have better options for jobs than hazards associated with fission reactors. Let’s try more wind and solar, first.

January 31, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

The rulers of the great powers are playing with fire — Labour Hub

By Gilbert Achcar It is not an exaggeration to say that what is currently happening in the heart of the European continent is the most dangerous moment in contemporary history and the closest to a third world war since the Soviet missile crisis in Cuba in 1962. True, neither Moscow nor Washington has hinted at […]

The rulers of the great powers are playing with fire — Labour Hub

January 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

NATO’s three nuclear powers to blast Russia in UNSC tomorrow — Anti-bellum

From the U.S. government’s quasi-/crypto-news agency, Associated Press. The “united voices” mentioned by Thomas-Greenfield, former senior vice president at the (Madeleine) Albright Stonebridge Group, are of course Britain and France, founding members of NATO (the world’s only nuclear military alliance), members of the NATO Quad (with Germany) and the only nuclear powers in Europe aside […]

NATO’s three nuclear powers to blast Russia in UNSC tomorrow — Anti-bellum

January 30, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

European Green Taxonomy and nuclear power: 5 former prime ministers of Japan have taken a public stand against its inclusion

Published on 29 January 2022 by André JACQUES

The European Commission should make its decision on February 02. The European Commission has decided to include nuclear power in the European green taxonomy (see the press release of the European Commission). Annual press conference at the Japan Foreign Correspondents Press Club (FCCJ). 27/01/2022. Via Javale Gola and Our Distant Neighbors

The last two Prime Ministers, in the presence of the General Secretary of Genjiren (Federation of associations for “zero nuclear energy” and the promotion of ENR) recall the (exorbitant) cost of nuclear power following the Fukushima Daiichi accident and then data on the development of ENR for a decade in Japan. (allocution of 35 minutes). From now on, zero nuclear power is credible, renewable energies are efficient…

According to Naoto Kan, wind power is starting little but solar power a lot, he calculated that there are 4 million hectares of cultivable land in Japan, and announced a solar power production capacity of 2 trillion Kw/h (10 to 12). He concludes with an illustration: large areas are available on the island of Hokkaido, but not elsewhere where small farmers are aging without being replaced; a good scenario according to Kan, would be to maintain the activity (on these non-constructible lands) to make them evolve into solar farms.QUESTIONS (36 minutes).South China Morning Post: in a context of climate disruption, energy needs at the global level are increasing; China is committed to the U.S. project of SMR, which is also of interest to Japan. Is stopping nuclear power a responsible position?

KOIZUMI: I am in favor of “zero nuclear power”; all industrial waste is exploding, we don’t know what to do with it; nuclear waste is even more phenomenal in volume and it is absolutely necessary to secure it because it represents a great danger but today the government wants to continue the development of nuclear power while we have no solution for the containment of the waste

KAN: to speak only about Japan, it has been victim of nuclear power twice (The bomb and then Fukushima); concerning the nuclear accident of Fukushima Daiichi, we came close to having to evacuate the population of Tokyo, so that the nuclear option does not seem to me to be tenable anymore. To decrease C02, the potential of ENR can cover the needs, as it is demonstrated and promoted also abroad.Liberation: “I am a French journalist, for the taxonomy of nuclear power, not all French people are in favor of it but the president of France is the promoter of nuclear power, can you deliver a brief and strong message to our president.(at 46′).

KAN: If I were to speak to President Macron, I would say what I just told you. That is, without nuclear, ENRs are enough to meet energy needs, that’s the first point. Secondly, we almost had to evacuate Tokyo, but France has a lot of nuclear power plants and if a similar accident happened in France, we might have to evacuate Paris, and if so, for 50 to 100 years, during which time Paris would be uninhabitable, as was the case at Chernobyl. I’m sure the president will be sensitive to both of these messages.”

KOIZUMI: France is currently aiming for 50% nuclear, so it seems difficult for the president to defend zero nuclear… But it has neighbors who also want to reduce their dependence, such as Germany, and I think these countries need to demonstrate the feasibility of zero nuclear, which will make the French president change his mind.

The end: the mediator (the gentleman on the right) asks them to intervene with the former European leaders, before February 2… for example Kan with Prodi; then he announces that it is the first time that they are gathered here for a new announcement, the creation between them of a new political party! but it is a joke, Koizumi is retired and does not want to enter politics anymore! Naoto Kan wants to devote himself to the promotion of the energy sufficiency of Japan thanks to the solar energy.

The translator, to conclude, informs the foreign correspondents that the European Parliament regrets the decision-making power of the European Commission on a subject so important for many countries and wishes it success in its opposition to this taxonomy resolution .

See opposite the trailer of the Film “The lid of the sun” that Crilan was shown in Flamanville in 2018 in the presence of Naoto Kan and then in Cherbourg in the presence of the director.

January 30, 2022 Posted by | 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES | , , , | 1 Comment

Father continues to suffer in court over Fukushima nuclear accident: “I exposed my son to radiation.

Akihiro Suzuki addresses a briefing session of the plaintiffs’ lawyers after the courtroom closed at 3:20 p.m. on January 28, 2022 in Sapporo.

January 28, 2022
On January 28, the Sapporo High Court heard oral arguments in an appeal by evacuees from Fukushima and other prefectures who sought compensation of approximately 1.36 billion yen from the government and TEPCO in the wake of the 2011 accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The plaintiffs, who are evacuees, gave statements and expressed their anguish that has not healed even 11 years after the accident.

 If it hadn’t been for the nuclear accident, my eldest son probably wouldn’t have gotten this disease.

 Akihiro Suzuki, 61, a current member of the Akahira City Council in Hokkaido, made this appeal in court. Akihiro Suzuki, 61, a current member of the Akahira City Council in Hokkaido, told the court that his eldest son, 26, was diagnosed with malignant lymphoma last March and is currently undergoing hospital treatment in Sapporo. I have been blaming myself every day for the impact on my health caused by the delay in evacuating, and I spend my days hoping that my eldest son will be released from his suffering and recover his health,” he said.

 According to Mr. Suzuki, at the time of the accident, he learned about the nuclear accident on the radio from his home in Fukushima City, where the power was out. He was most concerned about the health of his sons, who were in their second year of high school and eighth year of junior high school at the time.

 I thought about evacuating immediately, but gasoline was not available, so I was able to temporarily evacuate to Niigata about two weeks after the disaster. In September 2011, she and her second son evacuated to Hakodate, Hokkaido, where her eldest son had moved to school earlier.

 In 2004, they moved to Akabira City. Her eldest son found a job at an IT company in Osaka, and her second son started working at a directly managed farm of a food company in Hokkaido. 19 years later, she ran for the Akadaira City Council, hoping to “bring in some fresh air,” and was elected.

 Although he and his wife, who works at a high school in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido, were not expected to live together, he began to think that they had achieved a soft landing in the face of the many hardships faced by evacuees. It was just then that my eldest son became ill.

 After the onset of his illness, he underwent anticancer drug treatment for six months and recovered to the point where he could be said to be in remission. However, in December, he found out that the disease had recurred. Seeing her eldest son suffer from hair loss and nausea due to the side effects of the medication “tore my heart to pieces,” she said.

 I have always thought that I exposed my sons to radiation while I was still in Fukushima City. He was reluctant to stand up in court, but decided to give his opinion, saying, “Eleven years have passed since the accident, and I don’t want the world to forget the voices of the evacuees.

 In an interview after the court session, Mr. Suzuki said, “Will I be stuck in the disaster of the nuclear accident forever? In a world where the memory of the accident is fading, I want people to understand that the accident is by no means over,” he said quietly.

 The majority of the plaintiffs who have appealed to the court are “voluntary evacuees” who were not subject to the government’s evacuation order. As a result, only a little less than 40% of the 253 plaintiffs were eligible to receive compensation, and the amount was only about 53 million yen. (Shigeto Nakazawa)

January 29, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

‘We have to stop believing the nuclear hype’ , former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other leaders

We have to stop believing the hype. Nuclear has never delivered on the hype, and to somehow hinge the future of the planet on unproven design is simply, I think, irresponsible, and we have to recognize that or we’re going to be throwing money at the technologies that are simply never going to deliver.

Former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair argues nuclear power isn’t a climate solution

‘We have to stop believing the hype’ The Verge, By Justine Calma@justcalma  Jan 27, 2022,   Former heads of nuclear regulatory bodies across Europe and the US put out a statement this week voicing their opposition to nuclear energy as a climate solution………..  Nuclear energy is still too costly and risky to be a viable clean energy source, the authors of the statement write. They include Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the former leads of similar agencies in Germany, France, and the UK.

To learn more about why some nuclear power experts oppose the energy source as a climate fix, The Verge spoke with Jaczko, who chaired the NRC from 2009 to 2012 and, since then, has been outspoken about his concerns.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The debate swirling around whether nuclear energy should play a role in climate action has been going on for years. What prompted you to issue a statement this week? Why now?

I think there’s been a lot of misinformation about the role that nuclear power can play in any climate strategy. A lot of attention has been put on nuclear as somehow the technology that’s going to solve a lot of problems when it comes to dealing with climate change. I just think that’s not true. And it’s taking the debate and discussion away from the areas that can have a role and that do need focus and attention.

I’ve certainly seen nuclear power making a lot of headlines recently. There was a leaked draft of European Commission plans to label nuclear power as a green investment. And here in the US, the infrastructure law is set to funnel billions into propping up nuclear energy. What goes through your head when you see this?

I think it’s money that’s not well spent. Nuclear has shown time and time again that it cannot deliver on promises about deployment and costs. And that’s really the most important factor when it comes to climate.

What I find kind of a little bit head-scratching is why, all of the sudden, this is getting attention when in fact, what’s actually happening is really, really negative for nuclear. You’re seeing nuclear power plants that, when I was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, were supposed to be coming online — those plants have not come online all across the world. There are some new plants that have come online at a much later time. Then you have the complete fiasco that is the new build of nuclear reactors in the United States. You had four new design reactors that were licensed when I was chairman, which were supposed to be starting production in 2016 and 2017.

Two of those reactors were canceled, and that involved federal indictments for fraud among the heads of the company running that reactor development. Then the other two reactors are in Georgia, and those reactors continue to be pushed back and now are scheduled to start in 2022 or 2023. And they’re looking at a price tag that’s over $30 billion, which is more than double the initial estimate for the cost of that reactor………………

What should be done about older reactors? Some experts argue that premature nuclear plant closures lead to natural gas and coal plants filling in the gaps

We have to get the facts right. And the premise of your question is not true. There’s no such thing as a direct one-to-one replacement, first of all.

Renewables and the amount of renewables that are in the pipeline far exceed any one closure of a nuclear power plant in the US. So nuclear is simply not being replaced by fossil fuels. We’re still seeing natural gas play too large of a role in our electricity sector. That is an issue by itself that has nothing to do with whether nuclear power plants shut down or not. So this is where I say so much of this discussion around nuclear focuses on the wrong thing. The right thing we need to focus on is what are we doing to get rid of gas?

What are your concerns with next-generation nuclear reactors, given that they’re very different than the older technology that we have?

It simply comes down to the need. I do not see a place in which these reactors will play a role because they do not meet the demands of the electricity space right now.

We have to stop believing the hype. Nuclear has never delivered on the hype, and to somehow hinge the future of the planet on unproven design is simply, I think, irresponsible, and we have to recognize that or we’re going to be throwing money at the technologies that are simply never going to deliver.

……….  . None of these designs are going to be ready for deployment, even as a prototype, for 2030. You need by 2030 the decarbonization of the electricity sector, not getting some brand new technology is going to build its first at the time and then you’re going to have to wait another five to 15 years before you can deploy that technology at scale. We have to deploy at scale today. And it’s simply not going to come from these advanced reactor designs.

Your statement says that nuclear energy as a climate strategy is “[m]ilitarily hazardous since newly promoted reactor designs increase the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation.” Can you explain?

The simplest way to think about it is the difference between a nuclear weapons program and a nuclear power program is really intent. So much of the technology that is used for nuclear power production can be used to make the material that you need for nuclear weapons. For a long time, one of the promises of advanced reactors was that they would somehow be more resistant to proliferation concerns, namely that they would be harder to make that transition from strictly a power production technology to a technology that could be used for weapons production. And as technologies have developed, those issues have not really panned out again in the way that many different reactor designs were touted. So it will always be there as a concern.

And there are some interesting new players stepping into the arena — private companies looking into small modular reactors for their own operations. I think the latest I’ve seen is Rolls Royce. What do you make of that trend?

I think it comes back to the same issues, which is I am skeptical that that will ever materialize because you don’t generate electricity at prices that are well above market rates just to prove a point.

Rolls Royce is looking to develop their own design for small modular reactors. You know, I think it still suffers from the same problem, which is that those designs don’t meet the needs of the electricity market — namely price, deployment, operational flexibility, and they have the potential hazards for accidents, although small modular reactors have a lower consequence than certainly a large reactor. There’s nothing about the benefits that outweighs any of those  risks. 

January 29, 2022 Posted by | spinbuster | Leave a comment

Russia proposes US returns American nuclear weapons from NATO countries close to Russia

Russia proposes US returns American nuclear weapons from NATO countries stateside
According to Vladimir Yermakov, “currently there are about 200 American nuclear air bombs of the B61 family” in five non-nuclear NATO countries

MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. Moscow proposed to Washington to return all American nuclear weapons from NATO countries to US territory in the context of reviewing security guarantees, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Vladimir Yermakov said in an interview with TASS.

“We insist that NATO’s ‘joint nuclear missions’ should be stopped immediately, all the American nuclear weapons be returned to US national territory and the infrastructure that allows their rapid deployment should be eliminated. This aspect is one of the elements of the package of measures proposed by us to Washington in the context of considering the issues of security guarantees,” he said.

According to the diplomat, “currently there are about 200 American nuclear air bombs of the B61 family” in five non-nuclear NATO countries. Thus, the alliance is capable of rapidly deploying nuclear weapons able to reach strategic targets on Russian territory. “[NATO countries] also retain the infrastructure ensuring rapid deployment of these [nuclear] weapons capable of reaching Russian territory and striking a wide range of targets, including strategic ones,” he pointed out.

At the same time, NATO engages non-nuclear countries in training for using American nuclear weapons against Russia. “Interaction between NATO member countries in joint nuclear planning is underway. NATO ‘joint nuclear missions’ take place with non-nuclear alliance members involved in training on the use of American nuclear weapons against us,” the diplomat stressed.

He noted that the US is modernizing its nuclear arsenal with a view of the increased applicability of such weapons in real conditions, above all, in Europe. “As for modernization, the US is consistently implementing a campaign on the renovation of practically all the components of the nuclear arsenal. The B61 air bombs in their newest B61-12 modification will have a decreased or variable yield but increased precision. This raises the question, which containment scenarios justify such ‘calibration?’ This clearly means betting on a ‘higher applicability’ of such weapons under real conditions, first of all, in Europe,” the diplomat stated.

On December 17, 2021, the Russian Foreign Ministry published draft agreements between Moscow and Washington on security guarantees and the measures of ensuring the security of Russia and NATO member states. The proposed measures include guarantees that NATO will not advance eastward, including the accession of Ukraine and other countries into the alliance, as well as the non-deployment of serious offensive weapons, including nuclear ones. On January 26, the US and NATO submitted to Russia their written response to Moscow’s proposal on security guarantees.

January 29, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NATO practices nuclear missile sorties near borders of the Russia-Belarus Union

NATO practices nuclear missile sorties near Union State borders — Belarus’ security chief

A breach of international norms and elementary rules of good neighborly relations by neighboring countries is already turning into an alarming trend, Alexander Volfovich stated

MINSK, January 28. /TASS/. The NATO Air Force is practicing sorties with cruise missiles, including with nuclear warheads, near the borders of the Russia-Belarus Union State, State Secretary of the Belarusian Security Council Alexander Volfovich said on Friday.

“The head of state drew attention to intensified flights by US strategic bombers near the borders of the Union State,” the BelTA news agency quoted Volfovich as saying.

“In our assessments, this means that the NATO Air Force is practicing employing cruise missiles, including those with nuclear warheads,” he said……………..

January 29, 2022 Posted by | Belarus, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Swedish government allows the nuclear industry to build an unsafe repository for spent nuclear fuel

The method of disposal with copper canisters has received extensive criticism from eminent independent corrosion expertise. 28 Jan 22, The Swedish government’s decision to say yes to repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark is both regrettable and irresponsible. This is the opinion of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review (MKG). The government has made its decision without the nuclear industry having shown that the copper canisters that are to guarantee safety for at least 100,000 years will work as intended.

– The government has today made a historic decision and I am afraid that they have made a historic mistake. It is directly irresponsible of the government to say yes to the repository for spent nuclear fuel. The method of disposal with copper canisters has received extensive criticism from eminent independent corrosion expertise. The nuclear waste can cause significant environmental damage in the Forsmark area ¬ perhaps already after a few hundred years, says Johanna Sandahl, chair of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.

The government has chosen to say yes to the spent fuel repository, despite the fact that during the government review additional knowledge has emerged that copper does not function as canister material. The copper canisters are to guarantee safety for humans and the environment for over 100 000 years. Independent corrosion researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) have repeatedly warned that there is a risk that the canisters will break down – already after a few hundred years.
If the canisters break down and the extremely hazardous nuclear waste leaks out, it will contaminate the groundwater and the entire ecosystem. The marine environment is also affected. If this happens, a large area must be cordoned off as a zone with no access for a very long time and no one may eat or drink anything from the area.

The Government considers that it is sufficient that the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has said that the final repository can be sufficiently safe even if the copper canisters do not function as they should, thanks to the other barriers of rock and bentonite clay. The government has thus disregarded the fact that the Land and Environment Court clearly distanced itself from that view. The court held that the government must ensure that the copper canisters can really last for the long timespans involved.
Both the Swedish Council for Nuclear Waste, the government’s scientific advisory board on nuclear waste issues, and the researchers from KTH have stated that more research is needed in the repository environment to ensure that the canisters will work as intended.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and MKG believe that the government’s decision both ignored the strong scientific warning signals and the need for more copper research. As science continues to work independently of political decisions, the associations believe that it is likely that the project will still be stopped in the future. The risk that the money needed to build a repository will be wasted on the wrong technology is evident.

– The government has decided to approve a repository that will not work, says Johan Swahn, director of MKG. Thus, money and time risks being wasted in the construction of a repository that must then be discarded.

Johan Swahn, Director, MKG Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review,

January 29, 2022 Posted by | Sweden, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste storage in New Mexico would be blocked if Senate, House bill pass Legislature

Nuclear waste storage in New Mexico would be blocked if Senate, House bill pass Legislature, Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus    27 Jan 22, High-level spent nuclear fuel would be prohibited from being stored in New Mexico if lawmakers pass a pair of bills introduced during this year’s legislative session.

The bicameral effort comes as Holtec International proposed to build and operate a facility in southeast New Mexico to temporarily hold spent nuclear fuel rods from generator sites across the U.S.

Sponsored by New Mexico Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-36), a frequent critic of the Holtec project, Senate Bill 54 would prohibit the kind of waste Holtec planned to store in New Mexico. It’s twin bill, House Bill 127, was sponsored by Rep. Matthew McQueen (D-50).

The state does have a facility for low-level waste. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is operated by the U.S. Department of Energy in the same region and permitted by the State of New Mexico

The Holtec site recently received approval from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which recommended Holtec be issued a license to build the facility and a final decision was expected this year. 

Holtec would hold up to 100,000 metric tons of the waste in total on an interim basis until a permanent repository was available.

The U.S. does not presently have a permanent repository for the waste after such a project at Yucca Mountain, Nevada stalled amid opposition from leaders in that state.

In New Mexico, high-ranking state officials voiced their own opposition to the proposal with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham calling the project “economic malpractice” as she worried it could risk nearby oil and gas and agriculture industries in the region.

Last year, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a lawsuit against the NRC arguing its license recommendation ignored the environmental and safety impacts the site could have if built and operated.

SB 54 was awaiting a hearing in the Senate Conservation Committee, while HB 127 was to be considered in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

Both bills added language to New Mexico’s Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Act that “no one” will store high-level waste or spent nuclear fuel in New Mexico, adding to a clause that already required state consent before such a facility could be built.

The bill would also amend requirements of the state’s Radioactive Waste Consultation Task Force to include private nuclear facilities like Holtec’s in its purview for analysis and require the committee meet at least annually.

“No person shall store or dispose of radioactive materials or radioactive waste (or spent fuel) in a disposal facility until the state has concurred in the creation of the disposal facility, except as specifically preempted by federal law; provided that spent fuel and high-level waste shall not be stored or disposed of in the state; and provided further that the state or a political subdivision of the state shall not issue or certify a permit for the construction or operation of a disposal facility for spent fuel or high-level waste,” read the language of the bills.

Local leaders in southeast New Mexico opposed the bill, believing the Holtec project was a safe way to diversify the region’s economy and insulate it from future up and downswings in the oil and gas markets.

Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway, Eddy County Commission Chairman Steven McCutcheon, along with Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb and Lea County Commissioner Jonathan Sena signed letters to Lujan Grisham opposing each bill and asking that she not sign them into law if passed.

The cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs and Eddy and Lea counties formed the Eddy Lea Energy Alliance which sited the project and recruited Holtec……………….

January 29, 2022 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear radiation has had strange effects on plants and trees

Fukushima Radiation Made Japanese Fir Trees Go Haywire After Nuclear Disaster Newsweek, BY ORLANDO JENKINSON ON 1/27/22 Plants in Fukushima are growing in abnormal ways because of the radiation left over from the 2011 nuclear accident, a study suggests.

In a study published on January 15 in the journal Plants, scientists described changes to the structure of plants and trees in areas close to where a partial meltdown occurred at Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) after an earthquake caused a tsunami that overwhelmed the plant’s cooling systems.

…………..  To come to their conclusion, researchers examined the whorls—the places on plants where foliage like leaves, petals or needles spread out from a central point.

Instead of branching out in the expected way, the whorls showed irregular growths and even elimination of some shoots in ways not seen on trees that avoided radiation.

What is more, the number of strange mutations like this corresponded with the amount of radiation the trees were hit with. Researchers said that the rate of mutations was “directly proportional to the dose of ionizing radiation to which the conifers had been exposed.”

The authors of the paper said that another abnormality they found was the “deletion” of shoots of Japanese fir and red pine trees. This happened most often after the spring of 2012, and peaked in 2013, though precisely why remains a mystery.

The paper consequently offered further evidence that ionizing radiation like that produced by nuclear accidents can alter the structure of conifer trees.

The authors noted that the abnormalities they uncovered were like those found on Scots Pine trees in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the 18.6-mile radius surrounding the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the former Soviet Union in 1986.

January 29, 2022 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment