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USA does not have to march into war with Russia over Ukraine. It can choose to keep to the Minsk-Normandy process

The current crisis should be a wake-up call to all involved that the Minsk-Normandy process remains the only viable framework for a peaceful resolution in Ukraine. It deserves full international support, including from U.S. Members of Congress, especially in light of broken promises on NATO expansion, the U.S. role in the 2014 coup, and now the panic over fears of a Russian invasion that Ukrainian officials say are overblown.

Memo to Congress: Diplomacy for Ukraine Is Spelled M-I-N-S-K

Ukrainians of all ethnicities deserve genuine support to resolve their differences and find a way to live together in one country—or to separate peacefully.  Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J.S. Davies  COMMON DREAMS

While the Biden administration is sending more troops and weapons to inflame the Ukraine conflict and Congress is pouring more fuel on the fire, the American people are on a totally different track. 

A December 2021 poll found that a plurality of Americans in both political parties prefer to resolve differences over Ukraine through diplomacy. Another December poll found that a plurality of Americans (48 percent) would oppose going to war with Russia should it invade Ukraine, with only 27 percent favoring U.S. military involvement. 

The conservative Koch Institute, which commissioned that poll, concluded that “the United States has no vital interests at stake in Ukraine and continuing to take actions that increase the risk of a confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia is therefore not necessary for our security. After more than two decades of endless war abroad, it is not surprising there is wariness among the American people for yet another war that wouldn’t make us safer or more prosperous.”

The most anti-war popular voice on the right is Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has been lashing out against the hawks in both parties, as have other anti-interventionist libertarians. 

On the left, the anti-war sentiment was in full force on February 5, when over 75 protests took place from Maine to Alaska. The protesters, including union activists, environmentalists, healthcare workers and students, denounced pouring even more money into the military when we have so many burning needs at home.

You would think Congress would be echoing the public sentiment that a war with Russia is not in our national interest. Instead, taking our nation to war and supporting the gargantuan military budget seem to be the only issues that both parties agree on.

Most Republicans in Congress are criticizing Biden for not being tough enough (or for focusing on Russia instead of China) and most Democrats are afraid to oppose a Democratic president or be smeared as Putin apologists (remember, Democrats spent four years under Trump demonizing Russia). 

Both parties have bills calling for draconian sanctions on Russia and expedited “lethal aid” to Ukraine. The Republicans are advocating for $450 million in new military shipments; the Democrats are one-upping them with a price tag of $500 million

Progressive Caucus leaders Pramila Jayapal and Barbara Lee have called for negotiations and de-escalation. But others in the Caucus–such as Reps. David Cicilline and Andy Levin–are co-sponsors of the dreadful anti-Russia bill, and Speaker Pelosi is fast-tracking the bill to expedite weapons shipments to Ukraine. 

But sending more weapons and imposing heavy-handed sanctions can only ratchet up the resurgent U.S. Cold War on Russia, with all its attendant costs to American society: lavish military spending displacing desperately needed social spending; geopolitical divisions undermining international cooperation for a better future; and, not least, increased risks of a nuclear war that could end life on Earth as we know it.

For those looking for real solutions, we have good news. 

Negotiations regarding Ukraine are not limited to President Biden and Secretary Blinken’s failed efforts to browbeat the Russians. There is another already existing diplomatic track for peace in Ukraine, a well-established process called the Minsk Protocol, led by France and Germany and supervised by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The civil war in Eastern Ukraine broke out in early 2014, after the people of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces unilaterally declared independence from Ukraine as the Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) People’s Republics, in response to the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev in February 2014. The post-coup government formed new “National Guard” units to assault the breakaway region, but the separatists fought back and held their territory, with some covert support from Russia. Diplomatic efforts were launched to resolve the conflict.

The original Minsk Protocol was signed by the “Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine” (Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE) in September 2014. It reduced the violence, but failed to end the war. France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine also held a meeting in Normandy in June 2014 and this group became known as the “Normandy Contact Group” or the “Normandy Format.”

All these parties continued to meet and negotiate, together with the leaders of the self-declared Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) People’s Republics in Eastern Ukraine, and they eventually signed the Minsk II agreement on February 12, 2015. The terms were similar to the original Minsk Protocol, but more detailed and with more buy-in from the DPR and LPR.

The Minsk II agreement was unanimously approved by the U.N. Security Council in Resolution 2202 on February 17, 2015. The United States voted in favor of the resolution, and 57 Americans are currently serving as ceasefire monitors with the OSCE in Ukraine

The key elements of the 2015 Minsk II Agreement were:

  • an immediate bilateral ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and DPR and LPR forces; 
  • the withdrawal of heavy weapons from a 30-kilometer-wide buffer zone along the line of control between government and separatist forces; 
  • elections in the secessionist Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) People’s Republics, to be monitored by the OSCE; and
  • constitutional reforms to grant greater autonomy to the separatist-held areas within a reunified but less centralized Ukraine.

The ceasefire and buffer zone have held well enough for seven years to prevent a return to full-scale civil war, but organizing elections in Donbas that both sides will recognize has proved more difficult. 

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February 10, 2022 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

The West initiated the Ukraine crisis, and will have to work to fix it

Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin MULTUM NON MULTA By John J. Mearsheimer , 19 June 15 According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.

But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West…………….
The West’s final tool for peeling Kiev away from Moscow has been its efforts to spread Western values and promote democracy in Ukraine and other post-Soviet states, a plan that often entails funding pro-Western individuals and organizations. Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, estimated in December 2013 that the United States had invested more than $5 billion since 1991 to help Ukraine achieve “the future it deserves.” As part of that effort, the U.S. government has bankrolled the National Endowment for Democracy. The nonprofit foundation has funded more than 60 projects aimed at promoting civil society in Ukraine, and the NED’s president, Carl Gershman, has called that country “the biggest prize.” After Yanukovych won Ukraine’s presidential election in February 2010, the NED decided he was undermining its goals, and so it stepped up its efforts to support the opposition and strengthen the country’s democratic institutions……..
Imagine the American outrage if China built an impressive military alliance and tried to include Canada and Mexico….The West’s triple package of policies — NATO enlargement, EU expansion, and democracy promotion — added fuel to a fire waiting to ignite……….
There is a solution to the crisis in Ukraine, however — although it would require the West to think about the country in a fundamentally new way. The United States and its allies should abandon their plan to westernize Ukraine and instead aim to make it a neutral buffer between NATO and Russia, akin to Austria’s position during the Cold War. Western leaders should acknowledge that Ukraine matters so much to Putin that they cannot support an anti-Russian regime there. This would not mean that a future Ukrainian government would have to be pro-Russian or anti-NATO. On the contrary, the goal should be a sovereign Ukraine that falls in neither the Russian nor the Western camp.To achieve this end, the United States and its allies should publicly rule out NATO’s expansion into both Georgia and Ukraine. The West should also help fashion an economic rescue plan for Ukraine funded jointly by the EU, the International Monetary Fund, Russia, and the United States — a proposal that Moscow should welcome, given its interest in having a prosperous and stable Ukraine on its western flank. And the West should considerably limit its social-engineering efforts inside Ukraine. It is time to put an end to Western support for another Orange Revolution. Nevertheless, U.S. and European leaders should encourage Ukraine to respect minority rights, especially the language rights of its Russian speakers.Some may argue that changing policy toward Ukraine at this late date would seriously damage U.S. credibility around the world. There would undoubtedly be certain costs, but the costs of continuing a misguided strategy would be much greater. Furthermore, other countries are likely to respect a state that learns from its mistakes and ultimately devises a policy that deals effectively with the problem at hand. That option is clearly open to the United States…….

The United States and its European allies now face a choice on Ukraine. They can continue their current policy, which will exacerbate hostilities with Russia and devastate Ukraine in the process — a scenario in which everyone would come out a loser. Or they can switch gears and work to create a prosperous but neutral Ukraine, one that does not threaten Russia and allows the West to repair its relations with Moscow. With that approach, all sides would win.

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What You Should REALLY Know About Ukraine

the United States is standing with missiles on our doorstep.” Putin asked, “How would the Americans react if missiles were placed at the border with Canada or Mexico?”

The US Wants to Expand NATO  In addition to integrating Ukraine into the US-dominated economic sphere, Western planners also want to integrate Ukraine militarily. For years, the US has sought the expansion of NATO, an explicitly anti-Russian military alliance. NATO was originally billed as a counterforce to the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, but after the demise of the Soviet Union, the US promised the new Russia that it would not expand NATO east of Germany. Despite this agreement, the US continued building out its military alliance,growing closer and closer to Russia’s borders and ignoring Russia’s objections.

The West Wants Investor-Friendly Policies in Ukraine   The backdrop to the 2014 coup and annexation cannot be understood without looking at the US strategy to open Ukrainian markets to foreign investors and give control of its economy to giant multinational corporations

The US Helped Overthrow Ukraine’s Elected President……. US Officials Were Caught Picking the New Government    …

Washington Used Nazis to Help Overthrow the Government   The Washington-backed opposition that toppled the government was fueled by far-right and openly Nazi elements like the Right Sector. One far-right group that grew out of the protests was the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary militia of neo-Nazi extremists.

What You Should Really Know About Ukraine, BRYCE GREENE  28 Jan 22, As tensions began to rise over Ukraine, US media produced a stream of articles attempting to explain the situation with headlines like “Ukraine Explained” (New York Times12/8/21) and “What You Need to Know About Tensions Between Ukraine and Russia” (Washington Post11/26/21). Sidebars would have notes that tried to provide context for the current headlines. But to truly understand this crisis, you would need to know much more than what these articles offered.These “explainer” pieces are emblematic of Ukraine coverage in the rest of corporate media, which almost universally gave a pro-Western view of US/Russia relations and the history behind them. Media echoed the point of view of those who believe the US should have an active role in Ukrainian politics and enforce its perspective through military threats.

The official line goes something like this: Russia is challenging NATO and the “international rules-based order” by threatening to invade Ukraine, and the Biden administration needed to deter Russia by providing more security guarantees to the Zelensky government. The official account seizes on Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula as a starting point for US/Russian relations, and as evidence of Putin’s goals of rebuilding Russia’s long-lost empire.

Russia’s demand that NATO cease its expansion to Russia’s borders is viewed as such an obviously impossible demand that it can only be understood as a pretext to invade Ukraine. Therefore, the US should send weapons and troops to Ukraine, and guarantee its security with military threats to Russia (FAIR.org1/15/22).

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February 10, 2022 Posted by | history, media, politics international, Reference, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

Comfortably numb — Beyond Nuclear International

When we will wake up to the real threat we face?

Comfortably numb — Beyond Nuclear International “Hello? (Hello? Hello? Hello?)
“Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?”

Those echoing opening lines of the Pink Floyd song, “Comfortably Numb” keep wafting through my psyche as I watch the US, Russia, and China, amass ever more sophisticated, deadly and downright evil nuclear weapons capabilities. What are they thinking?

Meanwhile, tensions continue to mount at the Ukraine-Russia border, as Putin moves more armaments and fleets around and the US flies its elite 82nd Airborne Division into standby mode in Poland, part of 3,000 US troops now deployed to the region. 

All of this has sent US nuclear hawks, sounding more and more like General ‘Buck’ Turgidson from Dr. Strangelove, chafing at the bit to justify the further escalation and acceleration of the so-called modernization of the entire US nuclear weapons complex.

Meanwhile, there is even speculation that maybe Ukraine should not have given up its nuclear weapons at the end of the Cold War as the Soviet Union collapsed. The Russian seizure of Crimea and the seemingly endless conflict on Ukraine’s eastern border has led some to urge a Ukraine nuclear rearmament. 

A nuclear-armed Ukraine, goes the logic, would allow it to “deter” a Russian invasion or, at least, any possible use of nuclear weapons by Russia in a grab for Ukraine.

But this thinking further exposes the hollow argument for deterrence. Nuclear weapons in Ukraine would have only one outcome — they would make the prospect of nuclear weapons being used in any current conflict more likely. (Then, of course, there is the ever-present danger of Ukraine’s 15 operating nuclear reactors — addressed in a January 30, 2022 article on these pages.)

The prospect that even a conventional conflict could break out in Ukraine is already horrific enough. But even the remotest possibility that this could progress to the use of nuclear weapons by any party, is positively nightmarish. 

If you don’t value sleep, then Ira Helfand’s article in The Nation lays all of this out in chilling detail. It’s like reading the script to an apocalyptical dystopian horror movie (the kind that sadly seems to be all too popular these days).

Helfand’s article, however, is the exception to most of the coverage, which discusses the prospect of accidental or deliberate nuclear war over the Ukraine situation in a mind-bogglingly impassive way, “comfortably numb” to the very real, horrific, humanitarian consequences were this actually to happen.

It’s as if, as IPPNW’s Chuck Johnson said to me during a recent phone call, “it’s all perfectly normal”. 

But to most of us regular folk, calmly anticipating the possibility of a nuclear war isn’t normal. It’s the definition of insanity. And it’s exasperating. Hello? Can you hear us? We have a climate crisis bearing down on us. A global emergency of, yes, apocalyptic proportions. 

It goes without saying that, as a species, we need to stop directing all our energies towards our collective extinction, both through our failure to act adequately and on time on climate, and by unnecessarily rattling nuclear sabres.

It goes without saying, but it needs saying. Again and again and really loudly. By all of us. Just nod if you can hear me.

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

February 10, 2022 Posted by | media, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Delayed robot probe of Fukushima reactor begins

Feb. 8, 2022

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun its delayed robot probe of the inside of the facility’s No.1 reactor.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, had planned to start the survey of the reactor’s containment vessel on January 12, but postponed it due to mechanical trouble.

Engineers noticed during preparations that data from radiation-measuring equipment installed in a robot was not shown correctly.

The engineers later found out that electromagnetic waves emitted from the robot’s device for extending and winding up cables had affected its radiometers. They solved the problem, and confirmed that the data was then shown accurately.

TEPCO started the survey on Tuesday morning. Officials of the utility say they initially planned to end the probe by August, but that the schedule will be moved back due to the delay.

The probe is part of efforts to remove molten fuel debris from inside the reactor.

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Operators Send Robot Into Worst-Hit Melted Reactor

The damaged Unit 1 reactor, back, and the exhaust stack shared with the Unit 1 and 2 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant stand along the coast of Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. A remote-controlled robot was used on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, to probe the hardest-hit nuclear reactor at Japan’s wrecked Fukushima plant, as officials push forward with recovery and clean-up operations that have been mired in delays and controversy. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)

Feb. 8, 2022

By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — A remote-controlled robot on Tuesday was used to probe the hardest-hit nuclear reactor at Japan’s wrecked Fukushima plant, as officials push forward with clean-up operations that have been mired in delays and controversy.

An earthquake and tsunami in 2011 unleashed a disastrous meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi’s three reactors that partly sunk their radioactive cores into the plant’s concrete foundations, making removal extremely difficult.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, said the submersible robot was sent into Unit 1’s primary containment vessel to install a guiding path for five subsequent robots, which will attempt to asses and take samples of the melted fuel that emits fatally high radiation.

Tuesday’s probe followed five years after the operators sent another robot into the same and badly-damaged reactor, but failed to get any images of the melted fuel.

The robot-led work, which was postponed from mid-January due to mechanical glitches, is expected to last for a few days before full-fledged probes begin.

Earlier probes showed that the fuel at Unit 1 is submerged by highly radioactive water as deep as 2 meters (6.5 feet).

Five other robots, co-developed by Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning, a government-funded consortium, will be separately sent in for the investigation over the next several months.

The probe at Unit 1 aims to measure the melted fuel mounds, map them in three dimensions, analyze isotopes and their radioactivity, and collect samples, Tokyo Electric officials said.

Those are key to developing equipment and a strategy for a safe and efficient melted fuel removal.

About 900 tons of melted nuclear fuel remain inside the plant’s three reactors, including about 280 tons in Unit 1, and its removal is a daunting task that officials say will take 30-40 years. Critics say that’s overly optimistic.

Remote-controlled robots with cameras have provided only a limited view of the melted fuel in areas too dangerous for humans to reach. In 2017, super-high levels of radiation and structural damage hampered investigating Unit 1.

Details of how the highly radioactive material can be safely removed, stored and disposed at the end of the cleanup have not been decided.

Tokyo Electric hopes to use a robotic arm to remove a first scoop of melted fuel later this year from Unit 2, where internal robotic probes have made the most progress.

Fisherman and residents of Fukushima’s outlying areas have protested the operator’s plans to discharge into the nearby sea radioactive waters from the reactors, after treating and diluting them to safely releasable levels.

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan lifts Fukushima food ban as it looks to Japan for trade pact support

The island will ease restrictions to allow in produce from five Japanese prefectures more than a decade after the nuclear disaster.

Decision will help smooth the way for Taiwan’s bid to join the CPTPP, Cabinet spokesman says.

Taiwan is relaxing restrictions on Japanese food imports.

8 Feb, 2022

Taiwan will largely lift a ban on some Japanese food imports imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster as it seeks closer cooperation with Tokyo.

Citing the need to join global trade pacts, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the island’s government announced on Tuesday it would conditionally lift the ban on food from Fukushima and four other Japanese prefectures later this month.

“For 11 years, Japan has imposed restrictive measures even more stringent than international standards to reduce the risk in relation to food, leading to more than 40 countries, including the 11 member states of the CPTPP to fully lift the ban on related Japanese food imports,” Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng said.

Lo said many European countries had also relaxed their bans or required radiation-free certificates for the imports.

“All over the world today, only Taiwan and China maintain the ban, and even Hong Kong and Macau have partially lifted the ban,” he said.

Lo said that after years of reviews and consultations with food experts and scientists as well as examination of international standards and practices, the island finally decided to conditionally remove the ban.

Under the plan, food from Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures will be allowed in but aquatic products, tea, and dairy products will require proof that they are radiation-free and have certificates of origin.

General bans on wildlife meats, mushrooms and certain kinds of vegetables will remain in place.

Lo said the removal would help smooth the way for the island’s bid to join the CPTPP, which requires high standards for membership.

“For Taiwan to take part in the world trade and economic system and to join the high-standard CPTPP, we need to meet international criteria and refrain from ignoring scientific proof,” he said, adding Taiwan had discussed the issue many times with Japan and must remove unreasonable obstacles if it wants to join the Asia-Pacific trade body.

But he also stressed that the removal was not part of a deal in exchange for Japan’s support on CPTPP entry, though it would help the island’s bid.

John Deng, Taiwan’s top trade negotiator, said Taiwan applied to join the CPTPP last year and through its overseas representative offices or bilateral trade meetings, it had sought support from the 11 member states – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

He said the CPTPP’s review committee had yet to examine Taiwan’s application because it had been busy with Britain’s membership bid over the past year.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on her Facebook account on Tuesday that her government would not neglect the health concerns of the public and would uphold food safety on the island.

The main opposition party, the Kuomintang, however, blasted the Tsai government for ignoring public opinion that the food products be banned.

The decision comes despite a 2018 referendum that supported the 2011 ban.

Observers said the decision had more to do with the island’s hopes of winning security and military support from Japan to counter growing threats from Beijing.

“Participation in the CPTPP is a reason, but more importantly, Tsai wants to use the measure to befriend Japan so that it will join the United States to help defend Taiwan in the event of a potential cross-strait conflict,” said Wang Kung-yi, director of the Taiwan International Strategic Study Society, a Taipei-based think tank.

He said Tsai had done all she could to seek support from the US.

Wang said Tsai had also tried hard to cement ties with Japan to counter the mainland especially after former Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo said any mainland Chinese attack against Taiwan, either direct or indirect, would affect Japan’s national security.

Beijing considers Taiwan its territory that must control, by force if necessary. It has warned the US and Japan – which both recognise the mainland diplomatically – against military and official support for the island.

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo High Court rejects some of the evidence used in the second appeal against the former management of TEPCO

Feb. 9, 2022

A trial to hold the former management of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) criminally liable. In the second appeal hearing, the court rejected the witness examination and on-site inspection at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that the designated lawyer acting as the prosecutor had requested.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, former chairman of TEPCO, who was the top management of TEPCO at the time of the nuclear accident, and three other members of the former management team, were charged with manslaughter and forced to stand trial for allegedly failing to take countermeasures against the tsunami at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and causing the death of a patient at a nearby hospital due to evacuation.

The Tokyo District Court in the first trial acquitted them, saying that they could not have foreseen the tsunami, and the designated lawyer acting as the prosecutor appealed.

In the first trial of the appeal held last November, the court’s decision was closely watched, as the court demanded the adoption of documents and witness interviews of experts to support the reliability of the government’s earthquake assessment.

Ms. Riko Muto, head of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Appeal Team, said, “I trust the conscience of the court to find out why the nuclear accident occurred, why it could not have been prevented, and who is responsible for this.

The second trial was held on the 9th. The presiding judge of the Tokyo High Court, Keisuke Hosoda, adopted as evidence the documents submitted by the designated lawyer acting as the prosecutor.

On the other hand, he dismissed as “unnecessary” the questioning of three witnesses, including experts involved in the formulation of the government’s earthquake assessment, and refused to conduct on-site inspections at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and other facilities.

Hiroyuki Kawai, lawyer for the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Lawsuit Group: “I feel disappointed. I didn’t see the slightest sign of a desire to determine the responsibility of the defendants for causing the biggest pollution incident in Japan’s history.

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

“We don’t know if it’s debris.” Bumpy deposits at the bottom of the reactor.

February 9, 2022
 On February 9, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) released a video of the bottom of the containment vessel of the Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba towns, Fukushima Prefecture) taken by an underwater robot during an internal investigation. From the images, it was confirmed that orangeish bumpy deposits were spreading and adhering to the structure inside the vessel. It is possible that it is nuclear fuel (debris) that melted down during the accident. We don’t know if it is debris at this stage,” said Kenichi Takahara, a spokesman, at a press conference.

A video of the bottom of the containment vessel of the Unit 1 reactor shows a bumpy deposit spreading from the bottom center to the right side of the vessel at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Courtesy of TEPCO)

According to TEPCO, it is unclear how high the confirmed deposit is; a survey in March 2017 confirmed a deposit of 90 centimeters high near this location. According to TEPCO, the height of the debris is unknown.

A part of the piping that was cut off for the introduction of the robots has sunk to the bottom of the containment vessel of the Unit 1 reactor (Courtesy of TEPCO)

By around 1:50 p.m. on the 9th, the underwater robot that was deployed on the afternoon of the 8th had moved through the water inside the containment vessel and attached four guide rings with a diameter of 30 centimeters at intervals to the structure inside the vessel. The purpose of these rings was to prevent cables from getting tangled in the structure when the robot, which will be used in the future, moves around, and we were finally ready for a full-scale investigation.

In the containment vessel of the Unit 1 reactor, an underwater robot moves through the vessel while attaching rings to the structure (TEPCO)

Oil-like suspended matter was observed on the water surface inside the containment vessel of the Unit 1 reactor. The yellow glow in the center is a pipe illuminated by a light (TEPCO)

 The radiation level in the water was 1 to 2 sievert per hour. The radiation level in the water was 1 to 2 sievert per hour. The exposure limit for workers at the nuclear power plant is 50 millisieverts per year, and even if one were to enter the water, it would take only 1 to 3 minutes to reach the exposure limit, so people are not allowed to go near the water.

A worker opens a valve leading to the containment vessel of the Unit 1 reactor to insert a robot (Courtesy of TEPCO)

Workers insert an underwater robot outside the containment vessel of the Unit 1 reactor (Courtesy of TEPCO)

 Of the three reactors that suffered core meltdowns in the March 2011 accident, video footage shows deposits of what appears to be debris in Units 2 and 3, but no debris was found in Unit 1 during the 2005 survey.
 Removing the debris is the most difficult task, and it is estimated that a total of 880 tons has melted down in Units 1-3. TEPCO is aiming to collect a few grams of debris from the Unit 2 reactor by the end of this year. (Shinichi Ogawa, Kenta Onozawa)

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

NATO operationalizes space as its fifth battleground — Anti-bellum

NATOAllied Command TransformationFebruary 8, 2022 NATO’s New Space Policy Launches Activity for Allied Command Transformation NATO’s new space policy is a crucial step towards implementing space as an operational domain….Allied Command Transformation is prepared to contribute to this new effort. NATO is not new to space. The relationship began in 1966 and continues today. The […]

NATO operationalizes space as its fifth battleground — Anti-bellum

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anticipating events: Germany, Estonia provide military field hospital to Ukraine — Anti-bellum

ERR NewsFebruary 9, 2022 Estonia, Germany hand Ukraine ‘keys’ to new military field hospital Symbolic keys to a new €5.3 million field hospital were handed to Ukraine by Estonia and Germany on Monday. The medical facility was funded and donated by the two NATO allies. Germany funded the purchase of the field hospital, while the […]

Anticipating events: Germany, Estonia provide military field hospital to Ukraine — Anti-bellum

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Environmental Working Group (EWG) urges Biden to reject ‘outrageous’ call for more nuclear power subsidies in clean energy agenda

Nuclear power is truly an example of privatizing profits and socializing risks.”

EWG urges Biden to reject electric utility executives’ call for more nuclear power subsidies in clean energy agenda.  WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is meeting today with top executives from several investor-owned electric utilities who want Congress to approve vital clean energy tax credits as part of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. But they are also seeking new federal subsidies for existing nuclear power plants that the Environmental Working Group is urging the president to oppose.“Nuclear power is truly an example of privatizing profits and socializing risks.”

The Build Back Better plan is a broad infrastructure proposal and includes some important tax credits that the utilities support. They would help expand utility-scale solar projects and boost sales of electric vehicles, crucial steps in fighting the climate emergency.

But the call for wasting more federal tax dollars propping up uneconomic and dangerous nuclear power plants too is an outrageous request, noted EWG.

“Nuclear power is a relic of the electricity sector, and a dangerous and extremely expensive one that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “The federal government must stop throwing away money propping up the nuclear industry and instead make critical investments to expand safe, clean renewable energy.”

“President Biden and congressional leaders can and should unravel the federal government’s long history of pouring scarce resources into this failed industry and its legacy of radioactive waste and the enormous threat it poses to the public,” said Cook.

Nuclear power has never been financially viable and never will be, so new subsidies make no sense. It has the distinction of a permanent negative learning curve – costs always rise and never decline – despite 60 years of taxpayer-funded research and development, construction risks dumped onto ratepayers to lure private financing, a series of bailouts worth tens of billions to the industry, and billions wasted on upgrades to keep aging power plants running that could have been much more wisely spent replacing them. 

“It is time to systematically replace nuclear power with modern clean energy technology and to stop burdening ratepayers and taxpayers with this financial albatross,” said Cook. “Nuclear power is truly an example of privatizing profits and socializing risks.”

In its 2021“None of the Above” series calling out dirty and dangerous power sources that should quickly be replaced by clean, safe and renewable energy, such as solar and wind, EWG likened nuclear power to “nothing more than a public works project with no prospects for the future that has failed financially while generating huge amounts of radioactive waste, with no viable method of disposal, that will linger for thousands of years.”

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action. Visit for more information.

February 10, 2022 Posted by | environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Ahead of regulatory approval the US Dept of Energy wants Govt to grant $4 billion for Small Nuclear Reactors development

Bloomberg Business Week, 7 Feb 22,  –…………………………   Congress has ordered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to replace a rules framework that dates to the 1950s. The new guidelines aren’t expected until at least 2025………    To prove the safety of designs, for instance, the commission demands data from similar plants, but none of the smaller installations have been built in the U.S., so there’s no performance history.

………..   the U.S. Department of Energy has gotten ahead of the NRC. The department is asking Congress for as much as $4 billion over seven years for advanced reactor development.

Beneficiaries include TerraPower, a startup founded by Bill Gates that’s working on a project in Wyoming; X-energy, which is planning a high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor in Washington state; and Kairos Power, which aims to build a 35-megawatt salt-cooled test reactor in Tennessee and applied for a construction license last September.

……………  these plants face staunch opposition. Environmental groups say that small reactors—some have a capacity of only 1.5MW, about 0.1% the size of a traditional plant—still produce enough radioactive material to present a contamination risk. And building more plants, even small ones, will add to the pile of toxic waste that no one can figure out what do with. “To the extent that there will be efforts to weaken the regulatory envelope, we will aggressively push back,” says Geoff Fettus, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Globally, more than 70 small modular reactors, with a total capacity of about 12 gigawatts, have been proposed or are under development in at least five countries, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The only one that’s been built is a floating reactor in the Russian town of Pevek, on the Arctic Sea, where it’s used to power mining operations. Gregory Jaczko, who served as NRC chair from 2009 to 2012, says the lack of movement on such plants around the world suggests we would be wrong to count on them as a way out of the climate crisis. “They’re just not ready,” he says. “And by the time they could be ready, they’re not going to be useful.”

February 10, 2022 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear submarine graveyard- but one is to be recycled – perhaps for Australia?

The first vessel that’s going to be recycled from the so-called ‘submarine graveyard’ in Devonport has been named – but there’s no word yet on when it’ll actually happen. The last one was decommissioned in 1980 – but thirteen of them remain tied up there. HMS Valiant will be the first to be recycled – but no date’s been set for that yet.  Planet Radio 9th Feb 2022

Planet Radio 9th Feb 2022

February 10, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Why Isn’t Anyone…. — The Climate in Emergency

Talking about the total lack of real snow in the Winter Olympics as a climate issue? I mean, it’s not especially a climate issue, apparently the Beijing area just doesn’t get a lot of snow–it’s a weird place to put a Winter Olympics, but its always been like that. But Sochi had a similar problem […]

Why Isn’t Anyone…. — The Climate in Emergency

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment