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How giving AI bots control over nuclear weapons could spark World War III

 New York Post By Anthony Blair, The Sun, February 2, 2022

Giving artificial intelligence control over nuclear weapons could trigger an apocalyptic conflict, a leading expert has warned.

As AI takes a greater role in the control of devastating weaponry, so the chances of technology making a mistake and sparking World War III increase.

These include the USA’s B-21 nuclear bomber, China’s AI hypersonic missiles, and Russia’s Poseidon nuclear drone.

Writing for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, expert Zachary Kellenborn, a Policy Fellow at the Schar School of Policy and Government, warned: “If artificial intelligences controlled nuclear weapons, all of us could be dead.”

He went on: “Militaries are increasingly incorporating autonomous functions into weapons systems,” adding that “there is no guarantee that some military won’t put AI in charge of nuclear launches.”

Kellenborn, who describes himself as a US Army “Mad Scientist”, explained that “error” is the biggest problem with autonomous nuclear weapons.

He said: “In the real world, data may be biased or incomplete in all sorts of ways.”

Kellenborn added: “In a nuclear weapons context, a government may have little data about adversary military platforms; existing data may be structurally biased, by, for example, relying on satellite imagery; or data may not account for obvious, expected variations such as imagery taken during foggy, rainy, or overcast weather.”

Training a nuclear weapons AI program also poses a major challenge, as nukes have, thankfully, only been used twice in history in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, meaning any system would struggle to learn.

Despite these concerns, a number of AI military systems, including nuclear weapons, are already in place around the world.

Dead Hand

In recent years, Russia has also upgraded its so-called “Doomsday device”, known as “Dead Hand”.

This final line of defense in a nuclear war would fire every Russian nuke at once, guaranteeing total destruction of the enemy.

First developed during the Cold War, it is believed to have been given an AI upgrade over the past few years.

In 2018, nuclear disarmament expert Dr. Bruce Blair told the Daily Star Online he believes the system, known as “Perimeter”, is “vulnerable to cyber attack” which could prove catastrophic.

Dead hand systems are meant to provide a backup in case a state’s nuclear command authority is killed or otherwise disrupted.

US military experts Adam Lowther and Curtis McGuffin claimed in a 2019 article that the US should consider “an automated strategic response system based on artificial intelligence”.

Poseidon Nuclear Drone

In May 2018, Vladimir Putin launched Russia’s underwater nuclear drone, which experts warned could trigger 300ft tsunamis.

The Poseidon nuclear drone, due to be finished by 2027, is designed to wipe out enemy naval bases with two megatons of nuclear power.

Described by US Navy documents as an “Intercontinental Nuclear-Powered Nuclear-Armed Autonomous Torpedo”, or an “autonomous undersea vehicle” by the Congressional Research Service, it is intended to be used as a second-strike weapon in the event of a nuclear conflict.

The big unanswered question over Poseidon is; what can it do autonomously…………………..

B21 Bomber

The US has launched a $550 million remotely-piloted bomber that can fire nukes and hide from enemy missiles.

In 2020, the US Air Force’s B-21 stealth plane was unveiled, the first new US bomber in more than 30 years.

Not only can it be piloted remotely, but it can also fly itself using artificial intelligence to pick out targets and avoid detection with no human output.

Although the military insists a human operator will always make the final call on whether or not to hit a target, information about the aircraft has been slow at getting out.

AI fighter pilots & hypersonic missiles

Last year, China bragged its AI fighter pilots were “better than humans” and shot down their non-AI counterparts in simulated dogfights……..

Last year, China claimed its AI-controlled hypersonic missiles can hit targets with 10 times as much accuracy as a human-controlled missile.,,,,,,,

Checkmate AI warplane

In 2021, Russia unveiled a new AI stealth fighter jet – while also making a dig at the Royal Navy.

The 1,500mph aircraft called Checkmate was launched at a Russian airshow by a delighted Vladimir Putin.

One ad for the autonomous plane – which can hide from its enemies – featured a picture of the Royal Navy’s HMS Defender in the jet’s sights with the caption: “See You”.

The world has already come close to devastating nuclear war which was only prevented by human involvement.

On September 27, 1983, Soviet soldier Stanislav Petrov was an on-duty officer at a secret command center south of Moscow when a chilling alarm went off.

It signaled that the United States had launched intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads.

Faced with an impossible choice – report the alarm and potentially start WWIII or bank on it being a false alarm – Petrov chose the latter.

He later said: “I categorically refused to be guilty of starting World War III.”

Kellenberg said that Petrov made a human choice not to trust the automated launch detection system, explaining: “The computer was wrong; Petrov was right. The false signals came from the early warning system mistaking the sun’s reflection off the clouds for missiles.

“But if Petrov had been a machine, programmed to respond automatically when confidence was sufficiently high, that error would have started a nuclear war.”

He added: “There is no guarantee that some military won’t put AI in charge of nuclear launches; international law doesn’t specify that there should always be a ‘Petrov’ guarding the button. That’s something that should change, soon.”


February 3, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Increased risk of flooding due to population increase and global heating

Climate change and population growth could drive a 26% rise in US flood
risk by 2050 – disproportionately impacting black and low-income groups
– new research finds. The study, published in Nature Climate Change,
models property-level changes in flood risk across the US over the next
three decades.

It finds that in 2020, the US saw an “average annual
loss” of $32bn from flooding, but that cost could rise to $41bn by 2050.
The authors find that population growth will be the main driver of
increasing flood risk, causing 75% of the rise in “average annual
exposure” to flooding by 2050. The impacts of climate change –
including rising sea levels, intensifying hurricanes and changing rainfall
patterns – will account for 19% of the increased risk.

 Carbon Brief 31st Jan 2022

February 3, 2022 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Small island communities – pioneers for sustainability and climate action

Small island communities have often been pioneers for sustainability and
climate action. Are they a snapshot of a greener future, or a distraction
from bigger problems elsewhere?

By 2030, Rathlin wants to be acarbon-neutral island, following in the footsteps of dozens of small
islands around the world taking the fight against climate change into their
own hands by embracing renewable energy, electric vehicles and

To name a few, there’s the Danish island of Samsø, which
relies on wind energy and other renewables for power and heat. Or Tilos in
Greece, which was the first island in the country to become energy

Or Jeju, the South Korean holiday island which, like
Rathlin, aims to be carbon neutral by the end of the decade. Some say these
green islands or “eco-islands” are shining examples.

They demonstrate the
power of small communities and act as beacons lighting the way towards a
world less dependent on fossil fuels. But others argue that islands of a
couple of hundred or a few thousand inhabitants are mere drops in the ocean
when rapid, global change is required. Worse, these so-called good examples
might end up distracting mainlanders from their own responsibilities
regarding climate change. Are eco-islands just a waste of time?

 BBC 1st Feb 2022

February 3, 2022 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Cracks found in Civaux nuclear reactors, both 1 and 2

On 21 October 2021, following ultrasonic checks scheduled during the
second ten-yearly outage of Civaux NPP reactor 1 (1450 MWe reactor), EDF
informed ASN that it had detected indications on welds on the elbows of the
safety injection system piping[2] of the reactor’s main primary system
(see image below).

As Civaux NPP reactor 2 was the only 1450 MWe reactor
not yet to have undergone these types of checks, EDF shut it down in
November 2021 so that they could be carried out ahead of the date initially
scheduled for its second ten-yearly outage.

The checks confirmed the
presence of indications similar to those of reactor 1. On 15 December 2021,
EDF informed ASN that the metallurgical analyses conducted on the parts of
the pipes removed from Civaux NPP reactor 1 had revealed the presence of
cracking resulting from an unexpected stress corrosion phenomenon on the
inner face of the piping, close to the weld bead.

 ASN 31st Jan 2022

February 3, 2022 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Japan to renew subsidies for plutonium nuclear recycling

Ministry to resume subsidies for stalled pluthermal plan

By JUNICHIRO NAGASAKI/ Staff Writer  February 2, 2022   The economy ministry plans to bring back its subsidy program for areas that host pluthermal generation facilities in an attempt to break the logjam in the nuclear fuel recycling program.

The funds will be offered by the end of fiscal 2022.

The pluthermal program is part of the government’s nuclear fuel cycle policy, in which plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel produced at power plants in Japan is processed into plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel and reused at reactors.

The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan plans to start pluthermal power production at 12 or more reactors by fiscal 2030.

But the technology has been in service at only four reactors: the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture; the No. 3 reactor of Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture; and the No. 3 reactor of Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture.

By distributing the local-revitalization subsidies, the ministry hopes to accelerate the formation of regional agreements on the fuel cycle project.

A reprocessing facility operated by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. in Aomori Prefecture to recover plutonium is scheduled for completion in the first half of fiscal 2022, but the treatment plant cannot be put in full operation unless pluthermal generation spreads.

Unable to expand the use of MOX fuel, Japan now has 46 tons of plutonium stuck in storage, which has raised international concerns over its potential use in nuclear weapons.

Previously, prefectural governments that had agreed by fiscal 2008 to join the pluthermal circle could receive up to 6 billion yen ($52.4 million) in subsidies. Those that agreed by fiscal 2014 were eligible for a maximum of 3 billion yen in subsidies.

Eight prefectures, including Fukui, Ehime and Saga, have been receiving the subsidies. But currently there are no similar funding mechanisms for local governments under the pluthermal plan.

The economy ministry plans to incorporate a new system to finance prefectures with reactors that have not benefited from past subsidy programs.

Reactors at Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture and elsewhere are expected to be eligible.

Although Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture and Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane plant in Shimane Prefecture are included on the list for past subsidies, it is unclear when they can restart operations because of difficulties in passing the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s screening and gaining consent from residents near the plants.

February 3, 2022 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, politics, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Bill to help build small nuclear reactors in Indiana passes Senate, 

Bill to help build small nuclear reactors in Indiana passes Senate, WFYI Indianapolis,  


A bill that would make it easier for smaller, more advanced nuclear power plants to be built in Indiana passed in the state Senate on Tuesday…….

But opponents of SB 271 said small modular nuclear reactors are a risky investment for the state. None of the planned modular nuclear reactors have been built yet and many have gone over their proposed budgets — some by billions of dollars.

Sen. Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington) said the fact that ratepayers would have to foot the bill for these projects is concerning.

“This is a question of who is going to pay and for quite some time and before any project has ever come to fruition,” she said.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has also questioned the safety of the plants. It said the nuclear industry has sometimes used the plant’s smaller size to justify cutting back on safety equipment and staff as well as shrink the area that would be told to evacuate in a disaster.

The bill now moves on to the House for consideration.

February 3, 2022 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

UK preparing for ‘exo-atmospheric nuclear attack’ as greatest threat in space war, government report warns

UK preparing for ‘exo-atmospheric nuclear attack’ as greatest threat in space war, government report warns

Such an event would be a ‘permanent kill’ scenario worse than any electronic weapons or orbital anti-satellite weapons, a new report states
, Adam Smith Independent 2 Feb 22,

The government says space will be a key future battlefield with the most dangerous threat being a “exo-atmospheric nuclear attack”.

In a report from the Ministry of Defence, the government body described such an event as a “permanent kill” scenario; this would be vastly more dangerous than either electronic warfare, laser dazzling, cyber attacks, or orbital ASATs (anti-satellite weapons)………… (registered readers only)

February 3, 2022 Posted by | space travel, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sizewell C nuclear project issues have been glossed over

Sizewell C nuclear project issues have been glossed over

Former Labour MP Derek Wyatt points out three critical issues surrounding the government’s £100m investment in EDF’s nuclear power plant

Three critical issues surrounding the future of the Sizewell C project were missing from the recent announcement (Ministers invest £100m in EDF’s £20bn Sizewell C nuclear power station, 27 January). The first is the appalling state of EDF’s finances. This is coupled with shutdowns at its French power stations, using similar technology to Sizewell C. Newer nuclear power stations are not working.

February 3, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Give Nuclear Exposure Victims a Break

Those who become sick as a result of work in the nuclear weapons manufacturing and testing industry are eligible for health care benefits and compensation from those two federal programs: the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program (RECP) and the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP). 

Give Nuclear Exposure Victims a Break

My experience working with nuclear weapons and uranium workers has shown me that we must continue to provide essential benefits to workers and their survivors.

BY R. HUGH STEPHENS, FEBRUARY 2, 2022  Every month or so, my law office will get a call from the spouse of a nuclear weapons or uranium worker who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. We help file a claim for the worker with the Department of Justice or the Department of Labor, both of which run a compensation program.

Typically, these claims can be handled in a matter of weeks. Modest compensation provided through these programs provide help with medical bills and certain other financial obligations. 

Most people don’t realize that these programs exist, or even that our nuclear weapons system affects so many people across the country.

Originally known as the Manhattan Project, the U.S. nuclear weapons program in 1945 produced its first nuclear blast, the Trinity Test, in Alamogordo, New Mexico. But the impact of this testing has not been limited by either time or geography. Every day, downwinders, on-site participants, uranium miners, millers and ore transporters are diagnosed with cancers, pulmonary fibrosis and other serious illnesses from exposures that happened decades ago. Even today, nuclear weapons workers are being made ill at facilities across the country.

Those who become sick as a result of work in the nuclear weapons manufacturing and testing industry are eligible for health care benefits and compensation from those two federal programs: the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program (RECP) and the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP). 

The programs, not unlike the Veterans Affairs program that provides benefits for U.S. soldiers, provide vital benefits to workers who have borne the brunt of the physical and financial toll imposed by the nation’s nuclear weapons program. 

Currently pending bills would extend the RECP and allow on-site participants and downwinders to receive medical care for their accepted conditions under the EEOICP. This would make their claims more similar to the other beneficiaries, including uranium miners, millers and ore transporters, thereby eliminating a flaw in the RECP that prevents on-site participants throughout the country and downwinders in the southwest from receiving the same medical benefits as uranium miners, millers, and ore transporters receive.

Without action from Congress and the president, RECA will expire in July of this year. One path forward is a set of bipartisan bills introduced by Representative Leger Fernandez (H.R. 5338) and Senator Mike Crapo (S.2798). These bills extend and make important improvements to these compensation programs.

My experience working with nuclear weapons and uranium workers has shown me that these programs continue to provide essential benefits to workers and their survivors, whose lives have been disrupted by participation in the nuclear weapons program. Both of these programs should be extended and improved. 

We owe that, at least, to those who have sacrificed their health in the service of the nation’s nuclear ambitions. 

February 3, 2022 Posted by | health, Legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Brussels Faces Greenwash Scrutiny over Gas, Nuclear

Brussels Faces Greenwash Scrutiny over Gas, Nuclear

bloomberg-markets-european-close, February 3rd, 2022,

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness defended its newly published rulebook for green investment, known as the Taxonomy, which labels both nuclear energy and gas as sustainable for a limited period of time as Europe transitions out of coal. Critics, however, say Brussels missed an opportunity to tackle green washing and set a gold standard. (Source: Bloomberg)

February 3, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Israel Simulated Attack On Iran’s Nuclear Facilities In Recent Drills

Israel Simulated Attack On Iran’s Nuclear Facilities In Recent Drills

The Israel Air Force has held a drill to simulate an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities with dozens of warplanes, as tensions remain high in the region.

According to an unsourced report by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan news on Tuesday, the classified military exercise was held some two weeks ago, with a US Air Force officer in attendance.

The drills that took place over the Mediterranean included various scenarios such as mid-air refueling, long-range strikes, and different responses to anti-aircraft missiles………………

February 3, 2022 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fight Over Africa’s Sole Atomic Plant Entangles Energy Minister Mantashe

Mantashe sued over suspension of activist from the board
Eskom plans to extend Koeberg plant’s operating lifetime, 
Bloomberg, By Antony Sguazzin, 2 February 2022, South African Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe is being sued following the suspension of a National Nuclear Regulator board member who also works with a civil society group fighting against the lifetime extension of the continent’s only power reactors.

The suit filed by Peter Becker, who in addition to serving on the nuclear regulator’s board is a spokesman for the Koeberg Alert Alliance, will be heard by the High Court of Cape Town on Feb. 8, according to public documents seen by Bloomberg. South Africa is legally obliged to appoint a nuclear regulatory board member who represents communities potentially affected by industry decisions…………..

Becker, who was suspended on Jan. 18, argues in the documents that Mantashe didn’t have the legal authority to suspend him from performing his duties on the regulatory board. “The role of a board member representing the interests and concerns of communities is defined by the National Nuclear Regulatory Act” and “while I am suspended, decisions are being taken by the board without that representation,” he wrote in a reply to questions. 

The court case highlights the difficulties Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is facing in its fight to keep its Koeberg nuclear plant in Cape Town operating until 2044. Mantashe, a former coal mining unionist and chairman of the ruling African National Congress, has emerged as a vocal supporter of the nuclear industry, while drawing criticism from environmental activists. ………………

February 3, 2022 Posted by | Legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

Cornell University Library launches online Nuclear Freeze documents

Nuclear Freeze documents digitized, Cornell Chronicle, By Jose Beduya |February 2, 2022  “We will not quietly stand by and watch our world go up in flames and radiation,” the late scholar-activist Randall Forsberg once roused a crowd of more than 700,000 protestors in New York’s Central Park, calling for an end to the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Recently, Cornell University Library has launched an online selection of recorded and written speeches, testimonies, and correspondence by Forsberg, who was a leader of the international Nuclear Freeze movement and the founder and director of the Boston-based Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies (IDDS).

Titled Randall Forsberg and the Nuclear Freeze Movement: Selected Materials from the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies Archive, the collection is the culmination of a project led by Matthew Evangelista, professor of government; Agnieszka Nimark, visiting scholar at the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies; and Judith Reppy, professor emerita in the Department of Science and Technology Studies. The library’s Grants Program for Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences provided funding along with curatorial and digitization support.

The IDDS archive and Forsberg’s work can help to illuminate today’s issues, according to Evangelista.

“At a time when the United States has been engaged in more than 20 years of continuous warfare, the legacy of the IDDS is more relevant than ever,” he said.

“The institute combined the study of military policy with initiatives to reduce the prevalence of weapons and armed conflict,” he explained. “Whether you are interested in learning about techniques of analyzing military forces and arms-control proposals or founding a social movement to end war, there is something for you in the archive.”

Of personal interest to Evangelista is Forsberg’s Bertrand Russell Peace Lecture in 1989.

“She talks about growing up in Alabama and how it shaped her later understanding of the relationship of racism to issues of war and peace, and includes some self-criticism of early failures to recognize the problem of discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexuality – still very timely topics,” he said.

The collection also offers insights into Forsberg’s process of drafting and revision, according to Nimark……………………..

February 3, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kishida says statement by five former prime ministers ‘inappropriate’: Thyroid cancer caused by Fukushima nuclear accident

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (left foreground) speaks at the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives in the afternoon of February 2.

February 2, 2022

 Prime Minister Fumio Kishida criticized a statement issued by five former prime ministers, including Junichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa, at the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Wednesday, saying that the statement was inappropriate because it included the suggestion that many children are suffering from thyroid cancer due to the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

He was responding to a question from Yasushi Adachi of the Japan Restoration Association. The prime minister cited the fact that there is an assessment by experts that “at this point it is difficult to believe that this is an effect of radiation.
 The other five former prime ministers are Naoto Kan, Yukio Hatoyama, and Tomiichi Murayama. The statement, dated Jan. 27 and addressed to European Union (EU) Commission President VONDE ALAEN, objected to moves within the EU to promote nuclear power. The statement objected to moves in the EU to promote nuclear power generation, saying that “many children are suffering from thyroid cancer and an enormous amount of national wealth has disappeared” due to the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

February 3, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant “debris” storage method to be reconsidered – Chairman of the Regulatory Commission, Mr. Sarada

February 2, 2022

The chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), Mr. Toyoshi Sarada, has asked Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to reconsider the storage method of concrete debris with a very small amount of radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, with a view to temporarily burying it underground.

It has been 11 years since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant occurred in March 2011. The decommissioning of the nuclear power plant involves the removal of nuclear fuel that has cooled down after melting down. The biggest challenge is to remove the fuel debris. On the other hand, the disposal of low-level radioactive waste, which is generated in large quantities every day at the decommissioning site, is also a major issue.

As a result of the hydrogen explosions in the three reactor buildings, concrete fragments were scattered.

At a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority held on the 2nd, Mr. Sarada said, “Even if we assume that the waste will be transferred in the future, there are some areas where it would be much more advantageous to bury and store the waste,” and expressed his desire to ask TEPCO to reconsider the storage method with a view to temporarily burying it underground.

The amount of waste from the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant is increasing, but the management at the site is not up to the task, so a realistic storage method must be considered with an eye to the future, he said.

February 3, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment