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Today’s thought: Australia, Liberal and Labor, mindlessly toes the USA propaganda line.

UKraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Australian Parliament – to enthusiastic applause, a standing ovation. Fair enough. He’s a brave guy, with a good cause.

Did any of those donkeys in the Parliament understand that Zelensky has been trying to negotiate a peace deal with Russia? A deal that would involve Ukraine NOT joining NATO, and would involve fair treatment and some autonomy for the ethnic Russian areas in the Donbas, and recognition of Crimea as part of Russia. (nb. Crimea was not ”annexed” by Russia. They overwhelmingly voted to join Russia).

Do Australia’s sycophantic politicians understand that Joe Biden refuses to join in those negotiations? Do they understand that this war could have been prevented by the USA? That this is another, more sophisticated version of the proxy wars that USA has been orchestrating for decades?

Anthony Albanese, spineless opponent of the Liberal’s blustering bully Scott Morrison, joined in the fervour, comparing Putin to Hitler. All agreed that Australia must send more weapons so Ukraine – must join USA in continuing its lucrative preferably endless fight against Russia – a fight to the last Ukrainian!

March 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Christina's notes, politics international | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s family tirelessly advocate for his freedom

 https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/julian-assanges-family-tirelessly-seek-his-freedom,16208 By John Jiggens | 31 March 2022,

The fight for Julian Assange’s freedom goes on in the face of Western intransigence, writes Dr John Jiggens.

FRESH FROM attending the marriage of his son Julian Assange to partner Stella Moris, Assange’s continent-hopping father, John Shipton, will address the Palm Sunday rally in Brisbane on 10 April and attend a Q&A at a preview screening of the film Ithaka.

Produced by Julian’s brother Gabriel Shipton, Ithaka was directed by multi-award-winning director Ben Lawrence. The yet-to-be-released documentary will be a special thank-you to Julian’s many Queensland supporters. 

Filmed over two years across the UK, Europe, the U.S. and Australia, Ithaka follows John Shipton’s punishing schedule to save his son. 

We witness John embark on a European odyssey to rally a global network of supporters, advocate to politicians and cautiously step into the media’s glare, where he is forced to confront the events that made Julian a global flashpoint. 

In marked contrast to the war in Ukraine, the Iraqi war was covered by journalists embedded with the invading forces.

Civilian deaths were dismissed as “collateral damage”.  

When WikiLeaks showed us what “collateral damage” looked like from the perspective of Iraqi civilians, releasing a video of a massacre by an Apache helicopter gun crew of Iraqi civilians and two Reuter journalists, Julian Assange called it Collateral Murder.  

This intervention played an important role in ending the illegal UK, U.S. and Australian invasion of a sovereign nation, and because of this, the war criminals he exposed are destroying Julian Assange with the consent of the Australian Government, claiming he is the criminal.

But Assange was a hero for peace. 

For the Apache helicopter crew, the civilians on the ground were dehumanised. Like boys playing a computer game, they exclaimed “light ‘em up!” as they blew apart their victims from their unseen platform a mile in the sky.  

When a good samaritan stopped to help those still living, he and his children were ruthlessly machine-gunned. The crew blamed their father, saying he shouldn’t have brought children to a war zone.

Ithaka tracks John Shipton’s journey alongside Julian’s then-fiancée, Stella Moris, as they join forces to advocate for Julian.  

Stella and Julian’s marriage was a rare joyful moment for this embattled family. The mainstream media, of course, presented it as a bizarro celebrity wedding. Knowing which details to ignore, they focussed on the bride and groom’s clothes, rather than the politics. 

We learned that Julian, his brother Gabriel, and Stella and Julian’s two sons, Gabriel and Max, wore tartan kilts in honour of their Scottish heritage.

Vivienne Westwood, a long-time supporter, designed and made Stella a full-length wedding dress, which was adorned with graffiti and one of Westwood’s signature corsets. 

The largest contingent of the wedding party were prison guards and one of them was given the task of being the official photographer. Before saying “I do”, Stella was searched multiple times and had to pass through security scanners and sniffer dogs.

She was patted down in her wedding gown and fingerprinted four times. 

Two of the couple’s six guests, U.S. journalist Chris Hedges and Scottish journalist Craig Murray (who was to be one of the witnesses) were denied entry. They stayed outside with 150 supporters.

Craig Murray, who was the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan until he was fired for exposing the CIA black sites and torture centres in that country, was told that he could not enter because he would “endanger the security of the prison”

As Stella admitted:

“It’s not the wedding we would have planned.”

She also said:

“But we’re choosing to take control of our lives. We’re doing it for love, for each other, for our sons and because Julian’s life has been put on hold for long enough, robbing him of years with his family.”

Belmarsh’s Governor Jenny Louis ordered the couple’s family out of the prison the minute the service was over and Julian was taken back to his cell, knowing he may never get to live with his family. 

As their own bizarro wedding present, the UK Supreme Court dismissed Assange’s appeal against the High Court’s decision to allow his extradition to the USA. 

With Julian facing a 175-year sentence if extradited to the U.S., his family members are confronting the prospect of losing Julian forever to the abyss of the U.S. justice system.

Dr John Jiggens is a writer and journalist currently working in the community newsroom at Bay-FM in Byron Bay.

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March 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Chris Hedges On Ukraine, Russia & NATO

March 31, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Depicting Putin as ‘Madman’ Eliminates Need for Diplomacy

The Western media caricature of Putin as a psychopathic leader acting on irrational and idiosyncratic beliefs is a  convenient propaganda narrative that excuses US officials from taking diplomacy seriously—at the expense of Ukrainian lives and nuclear brinkmanship

FAIR, JOSHUA CHO, 30 Mar 22, Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, Western media have depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin as an irrational—perhaps mentally ill—leader who cannot be reasoned or bargained with. Such portrayals have only intensified as the Ukraine crisis came to dominate the news agenda.

The implications underlying these media debates and speculations about Putin’s psyche are immense. If one believes that Putin is a “madman,” the implication is that meaningful diplomatic negotiations with Russia are impossible, pushing military options to the forefront as the means of resolving the Ukraine situation.

If Putin is not a rational actor, the implication is that no kind of diplomacy could have prevented the Russian invasion, and therefore no other country besides Russia shares blame for ongoing violence. (See FAIR.org3/4/22.) Yet another implication is that if Putin’s defects made Russia’s invasion unavoidable, then regime change may be necessary to resolve the conflict.

‘Increasingly insane’

Western media have for years been debating whether Putin is insane (Extra!5/14; FAIR.org2/12/15) or merely pretending to be—speculation that has only intensified in recent weeks:

  • Guardian (2/24/22): “Decision to Invade Ukraine Raises Questions Over Putin’s ‘Sense of Reality’”
  • Daily Beast (3/1/22): “The Russian People May Be Starting to Think Putin Is Insane”
  • Vanity Fair (3/1/22): “Report: An ‘Increasingly Frustrated’ Putin, a Madman With Nuclear Weapons, Is Lashing Out at His Inner Circle”
  • New York (3/4/22): “Putin’s War Looks Increasingly Insane”

The Guardian report (2/24/22) cited concerns raised in European official circles about Putin’s mental state:

They worry about a 69-year-old man whose tendency towards insularity has been amplified by his precautions against Covid, leaving him surrounded by an ever-shrinking coterie of fearful obedient courtiers. He appears increasingly uncoupled from the contemporary world, preferring to burrow deep into history and a personal quest for greatness.

Even when other media analysts argued that Putin’s alleged mental illness was merely a ruse to wrest concessions from the west, this was not presented as a rationale for negotiating with him, but rather as a reason to reject de-escalation and diplomacy. Forbes (3/1/22)……….

‘Detached from reality’

In the Daily Beast (3/1/22), Amy Knight, a historian of Russia and the USSR, displayed a remarkable ability to read Putin’s mind, discerning the real motivations of someone she describes as possibly “detached from reality…………………..

Reason is not going to work’

Other Western media headlines offered quite specific, though varying, evaluations of Putin’s mental state from a distance. ……..


Atlantic 
(4/15/14): “Vladimir Putin, Narcissist?”Independent (2/1/15): “President Putin Is a Dangerous Psychopath—Reason Is Not Going to Work With Him”USA Today (2/4/15): “Pentagon 2008 Study Claims Putin Has Asperger’s Syndrome”Sun (2/28/22): “Vladimir Putin Is Egocentric, Narcissistic & Exhibits Key Traits of a Psychopath”Fox News (3/2/22): “Russian President Vladimir Putin Has Features of a Psychopath: Expert”

These diagnoses from afar have been going on for a long time…………………………………………………..

As of this writing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken hasn’t attempted any conversations with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, while Russian military commanders are declining calls from the Pentagon, likely due to the US sharing military intelligence with the Ukrainian government. This silence on both the diplomatic and military fronts risks further escalation instead of a quick negotiated end to the war.

The Western media caricature of Putin as a psychopathic leader acting on irrational and idiosyncratic beliefs is a  convenient propaganda narrative that excuses US officials from taking diplomacy seriously—at the expense of Ukrainian lives and nuclear brinkmanship (Antiwar.com3/10/22). Recent negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul were hailed by both parties as constructive, with Russia vowing to reduce military activity around Kyiv and northern Ukraine as a result (NPR3/29/22). It’s important not to let US officials subvert peace negotiations between the two parties on the evidence-free grounds that negotiations with Russia are pointless.  https://fair.org/home/depicting-putin-as-madman-eliminates-need-for-diplomacy/

March 31, 2022 Posted by | media, politics international, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

THE MADNESS OF THE RESURGENT US COLD WAR ON RUSSIA

  • By Nicolas J. S. Davies, Popular Resistance, March 29, 2022

The war in Ukraine has placed U.S. and NATO policy toward Russia under a spotlight, highlighting how the United States and its allies have expanded NATO right up to Russia’s borders, backed a coup and now a proxy war in Ukraine, imposed waves of economic sanctions, and launched a debilitating trillion-dollar arms race. The explicit goal is to pressure, weaken and ultimately eliminate Russia, or a Russia-China partnership, as a strategic competitor to U.S. imperial power.

The United States and NATO have used similar forms of force and coercion against many countries. In every case they have been catastrophic for the people directly impacted, whether they achieved their political aims or not.

Wars and violent regime changes in Kosovo, Iraq, Haiti and Libya have left them mired in endless corruption, poverty and chaos. Failed proxy wars in Somalia, Syria and Yemen have spawned endless war and humanitarian disasters. U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela have impoverished their people but failed to change their governments.

Meanwhile, U.S.-backed coups in Chile, Bolivia and Honduras have sooner or later been reversed by grassroots movements to restore democratic, socialist government. The Taliban are governing Afghanistan again after a 20-year war to expel a U.S. and NATO army of occupation, for which the sore losers are now starving millions of Afghans.

But the risks and consequences of the U.S. Cold War on Russia are of a different order. The purpose of any war is to defeat your enemy. But how can you defeat an enemy that is explicitly committed to respond to the prospect of existential defeat by destroying the whole world?

This is in fact part of the military doctrine of the United States and Russia, who together possess over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. If either of them faces existential defeat, they are prepared to destroy human civilization in a nuclear holocaust that will kill Americans, Russians and neutrals alike.

In June 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree stating, “The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against it and/or its allies… and also in the case of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons, when the very existence of the state is put under threat.”

U.S. nuclear weapons policy is no more reassuring. A decades-long campaign for a U.S. “no first use” nuclear weapons policy still falls on deaf ears in Washington.

The 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) promised that the United States would not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state. But in a war with another nuclear-armed country, it said, “The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.”

The 2018 NPR broadened the definition of “extreme circumstances” to cover “significant non-nuclear attacks,” which it said would “include, but are not limited to, attacks on the U.S., allies or partner civilian population or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment.” The critical phrase, “but are not limited to,” removes any restriction at all on a U.S. nuclear first strike……………………………………….

The danger that hawks in the State Department and Congress may convince President Biden to escalate the U.S. role in the war prompted the Pentagon to leak details of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) assessments of Russia’s conduct of the war to Newsweek’s William Arkin.

Senior DIA officers told Arkin that Russia has dropped fewer bombs and missiles on Ukraine in a month than U.S. forces dropped on Iraq in the first day of bombing in 2003, and that they see no evidence of Russia directly targeting civilians. Like U.S. “precision” weapons, Russian weapons are probably only about 80% accurate, so hundreds of stray bombs and missiles are killing and wounding civilians and hitting civilian infrastructure, as they do just as horrifically in every U.S. war.

The DIA analysts believe Russia is holding back from a more devastating war because what it really wants is not to destroy Ukrainian cities but to negotiate a diplomatic agreement to ensure a neutral, non-aligned Ukraine.

But the Pentagon appears to be so worried by the impact of highly effective Western and Ukrainian war propaganda that it has released secret intelligence to Newsweek to try to restore a measure of reality to the media’s portrayal of the war, before political pressure for NATO escalation leads to a nuclear war.

Since the United States and the U.S.S.R. blundered into their nuclear suicide pact in the 1950s, it has come to be known as Mutual Assured Destruction, or MAD.

As the Cold War evolved, they cooperated to reduce the risk of mutual assured destruction through arms control treaties, a hotline between Moscow and Washington, and regular contacts between U.S. and Soviet officials.

But the United States has now withdrawn from many of those arms control treaties and safeguard mechanisms. The risk of nuclear war is as great today as it has ever been, as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warns year after year in its annual Doomsday Clock statement. The Bulletin has also published detailed analyses of how specific technological advances in U.S. nuclear weapons design and strategy are increasing the risk of nuclear war…………………………………

It is the epitome of official insanity that U.S., NATO and Russian leaders have resurrected this Cold War, which the whole world celebrated the end of, allowing plans for mass suicide and human extinction to once again masquerade as responsible defense policy.

While Russia bears full responsibility for invading Ukraine and for all the death and destruction of this war, this crisis did not come out of nowhere. The United States and its allies must reexamine their own roles in resurrecting the Cold War that spawned this crisis, if we are ever to return to a safer world for people everywhere.

Tragically, instead of expiring on its sell-by date in the 1990s along with the Warsaw Pact, NATO has transformed itself into an aggressive global military alliance, a fig-leaf for U.S. imperialism, and a forum for dangerous, self-fulfilling threat analysis, to justify its continued existence, endless expansion and crimes of aggression on three continents, in KosovoAfghanistan and Libya.

If this insanity indeed drives us to mass extinction, it will be no consolation to the scattered and dying survivors that their leaders succeeded in destroying their enemies’ country too. They will simply curse leaders on all sides for their blindness and stupidity. The propaganda by which each side demonized the other will be only a cruel irony once its end result is seen to be the destruction of everything leaders on all sides claimed to be defending………………………………

A top priority must be to dismantle the nuclear Doomsday machine we have inadvertently collaborated to build and maintain for 70 years, along with the obsolete and dangerous NATO military alliance. We cannot let the “unwarranted influence” and “misplaced power” of the Military-Industrial Complex keep leading us into ever more dangerous military crises until one of them spins out of control and destroys us all.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist, a researcher for CODEPINK and the author of Blood On Our Hands: the Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. https://popularresistance.org/the-madness-of-the-resurgent-us-cold-war-on-russia/

March 31, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NuScale’s small modular nuclear reactor – ”too late, too expensive, too risky and too uncertain” –  Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

A small modular reactor (SMR) that NuScale has been developing since the turn of the century is “too late, too expensive, too risky and too uncertain,” according to an analysis of the project by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

The first-of-its-kind SMR is a serious financial threat to the member communities of the Utah Associated
Municipal Power System that have signed up for a share of its power and to any other communities and utilities thinking about doing so. NuScale has optimistically targeted the cost of power from the new plant at $58 per megawatt-hour (MWh), although some estimates predict costs for the power from new SMRs could reach $200/MWh.

 IEEFA 17th Feb 2022

March 31, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Getting bigger but not safer or cheaper – the myth of Rolls Royce and its very big non-modular reactor

Rolls Royce are now starting a ‘Generic Design Assessment’ (GDA) process with the ONR which will take around 5 years. After then they will be asking the UK Government for a blank cheque for the project.

https://100percentrenewableuk.org/getting-bigger-but-not-safer-or-cheaper-the-myth-of-rolls-royce-and-its-very-big-non-modular-reactor By David Toke, 30 Mar 22, Rolls Royce’s so-called small modular reactor (SMR) is getting bigger, but is likely to have fewer special safety features compared to EDF’s increasingly pricey design for Hinkley C.

In 2017 Rolls Royce said that its small modular reactor would be between 220 and 440 MW, but the latest design is bigger, at 470 MW. It is strange to call this small. Reactors in service at the moment (the so-called AGR reactors) were around the 600 MW size for each unit and, strange as it might seem, most of the first generation of so-called ‘Magnox’ nuclear reactors built in the UK were actually smaller than 470 MW. They were not called ‘small’. So why is Rolls Royce calling this a SMR? There’s no reason for this other than public relations.

Rolls Royce claim that the parts will be mainly built in factories. Well, of course they will, that’s always the case with nuclear power plant. The difference with building a relatively smaller plant of course is that you get less of the economies of scale in doing this. That is why nuclear power plant have got bigger.

So the fact that the Rolls Royce unit will be about a third the size of the EPR is likely to make them cost more. But there is one way that Rolls Royce will be able to economise compared to the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) being built at Hinkley C, and that is because I have seen no sign that Rolls Royce will include some special safety features that have been included in the EPR.

The best known of these safety features are a) a ‘double containment’ feature that is designed to stop material from the inside getting out (as well as another external shell to shield from aircraft) and b) a ‘core catcher’ to stop a melting core eating its way into the ground and potentially contaminating water courses. I am assuming Rolls Royce will not be including either of these features, although it will have to satisfy the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) that it has other ways of stopping radioactive releases from accidents.

Rolls Royce are now starting a ‘Generic Design Assessment’ (GDA) process with the ONR which will take around 5 years. After then they will be asking the UK Government for a blank cheque for a project.

Of course there is another factor and that is that EDF have some experience (admittedly not very successful of late) of building nuclear power plant. Rolls Royce  do not have experience of building large nuclear power plant (which is what they are really hoping to do). Producing small (and, it must be said extremely expensive) genuinely small reactors for nuclear submarines is not the same thing at all! So Rolls Royce are likely not to have the skills to build large nuclear power plant. That is a bad sign!

The so-called SMRs proferred by Rolls Royce will just be the latest in a long line of very expensive, very lately delivered nuclear power stations in the UK. It is unlikely to be any cheaper than the reactor that EDF is building at Hinkley C  (becoming more expensive as time goes on). But it will have fewer safety features.

Robert (Bob) Hoggar comments: Small Mod Reactors scattered about Britain will also have lots of nuclear waste scattered about Britain which will need careful looking after and that is guaranteed to be an additional rusk to the nation.

March 31, 2022 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

European Union lawmakers move to reject inclusion of nuclear energy as ‘green’

EU lawmakers move to reject green gas and nuclear investment rules, Reuters, By Kate Abnett and Simon Jessop

  • Summary
  • Greens, Socialists and Democrats oppose proposed rules
  • Parliament vote on taxonomy proposal due by July
  • EU advisers launch report on other environmental criteria

BRUSSELS, March 30 (Reuters) – At least two groups of European Union lawmakers have confirmed they will reject an EU proposal to label gas and nuclear energy as sustainable investments, officials said on Wednesday.

Reporting by Kate Abnett, Simon Jessop, editing by Ed Osmond………… (registered readers only)  https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/eu-lawmakers-move-reject-green-gas-nuclear-investment-rules-2022-03-30/

March 31, 2022 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

War in Ukraine has produced a new energy crisis. Energy efficiency is the fastest way to address this.

 Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is good reason to “crank with wartime
urgency” the mass insulation of buildings and deployment of renewables,
energy conservation pioneer Amory Lovins declares in an interview with the
Guardian.

“We have a new energy crisis, and efficiency is the largest,
cheapest, safest, cleanest, and fastest way to address it,” said Lovins,
chair emeritus of the Snowmass, Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute
(RMI) and adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at
Stanford University.

While new renewable technology usually gets more
attention, he added, the time has come to focus on the energy efficiency
measures that Lovins and others have been advocating for the last 50 years.
Lovins also happens to be the grandchild of 20th century Jewish immigrants.

from small villages in Ukraine. Most of his Ukrainian ancestors were
murdered by the Nazis in the infamous 1941 massacre of Tarashcha, which
resulted in the deaths of 14,000 Jewish Ukrainians. Eighty years later,
fossil fuels are underwriting further vicious loss of life. But in the
first two weeks of the war, western countries paid out €8 billion for oil
and gas purchases from Russia, he told the Guardian. 

The Energy Mix 27th March 2022 https://www.theenergymix.com/2022/03/27/shift-to-energy-efficiency-could-pressure-putin-says-conservation-pioneer-lovins/

March 31, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, ENERGY | Leave a comment

UN nuclear watchdog chief in Ukraine for safety talks

UN nuclear watchdog chief in Ukraine for safety talks  https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2022-03-un-nuclear-watchdog-chief-in-ukraine-for-safety-talks

The United Nations nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi visited Ukraine on Tuesday unannounced to start providing assistance including experts and equipment aimed at keeping nuclear facilities there safe in the midst of war, apparently without Russia’s blessing.   March 30, 2022 by Charles Digges

The United Nations nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi visited Ukraine on Tuesday unannounced to start providing assistance including experts and equipment aimed at keeping nuclear facilities there safe in the midst of war, apparently without Russia’s blessing.

Grossi’s visit comes as seasonal wildfires are ripping unchecked through the irradiated area surrounding Chernobyl, the defunct nuclear power plant that was seized by Russian troops on February 24. Ukrainian officials have said the blazes within the 2,600 square kilometer exclusion zone around the disaster site could bear radiation aloft to surrounding territories and across borders.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine last month, Grossi has called on both countries to agree a framework to ensure nuclear facilities, including spent nuclear fuel storage facilities at Chernobyl and Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhya, are kept safe and secure.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Grossi has so far failed to obtain such an agreement or even a three-way meeting with Ukraine and Russia. He had hoped to convene one at Chernobyl, which like Zaporizhzhya continues to be held under Russian control. He met the Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers separately in Turkey almost three weeks ago.

On Wednesday Grossi appeared to make some progress, posting on Twitter that he had met with Ukraine’s energy minister and the head of Energoatom, the state company that oversees the country’s nuclear industry.

IAEA’s on-site presence will help prevent the danger of a nuclear accident that could have severe public health and environmental consequences in Ukraine and beyond,” Grossi wrote.

On Monday, Lyudmila Denisova, commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for human rights said the wildfires around Chernobyl have led to an increased level of radioactive air pollution that could threaten neighboring European countries.

She attributed the fires to Russian combat in the region, saying 31 blazes have been recorded, and she called on the IAEA to send firefighters and equipment to help tackle them.

“Control and suppression of fires is impossible due to the capture of the exclusion zone by Russian troops,” Denisova wrote in a Facebook post Sunday. “As a result of combustion, radionuclides are released into the atmosphere, which are transported by wind over long distances.”

The IAEA’s Grossi has not yet commented on the blazes, but their presence contributed to fears of yet more mishaps as Ukraine’s nuclear infrastructure falls under Russian fire.

Since the Chernobyl plant fell into Russian hands, nearby combat has cut power to the site twice, jeopardizing cooling processes for 22,000 spent nuclear fuel rods stores on plant territory. Ventilation is also required to tamp down radiation levels below the New Safe Confinement, a giant steel dome that was installed over the sarcophagus of Chernobyl’s Unit Four reactor, which exploded in 1986.

Power has since been restored, but the IAEA has reported it no longer has access to data transmitted by radiation sensors at the site.

At the Zaporizhzhya plant, a March 4 rocket strike destroyed a training laboratory. Like Chernobyl, the Zaproizhzhya’s plant’s staff is now essentially hostage to invading Russian forces – a situation that worries the IAEA. Since then, the Russian military has detonated ordinance at the plant that remained unexploded during its attack. The IAEA said that both the reactors and radiation levels remained safe after that incident.

Russians have also twice shelled the site of a US funded research reactor and nuclear research facility in the northeastern city of Kharkiv. The reactor’s fuel had reportedly been withdrawn prior to the onset of war and the IAEA said chances for an uncontrolled chain reaction at the site are low.

He also visited the South Ukraine nuclear power plant, whose three reactors are thought to be in the crosshairs of advancing Russian troops.

March 31, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Those yearning for regime change in Russia rarely consider what might come next

George Kennan and the Russian future The late US diplomat saw that those yearning for regime change in Russia rarely considered what might come next, Asia Times, By JAMES CARDEN, MARCH 29, 2022

US President Joe Biden’s ill-advised and reportedly ad-libbed call for regime change in Russia last week implicitly raised the question what kind of government Washington has in mind should President Vladimir Putin be deposed or voluntary step down ahead of Russia’s 2024 presidential election.

Biden’s line of what might charitably be called “thinking” has long tempted American policymakers. Writing in 1951, the diplomat George F Kennan observed:

“The very virulence with which Americans reject the outlook and practice of those who now hold power in the Kremlin implies in the strongest possible way the belief in, and desire for, an alternative – for some other Russian outlook and some other set of practices in Russia to take the place of those we know today.

“Yet it may be permitted to ask whether there is any clear image in our minds of what that outlook and those practices might be and of the ways by which Americans might promote progress toward them.”

These are the opening lines to Kennan’s Foreign Affairs essay “America and the Russian Future,” an indispensable corrective to the kinds of magical thinking that mark Washington’s current approach toward Russia and the world.

The planning for regime change in Russia has been under way for at least a decade. In an e-mail congratulating a State Department aide on her promotion to the White House national security  staff, then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton wrote, “… we need you at the White House to help plan and execute our Russian strategy post-Putin.”

Biden’s speech last weekend at the Warsaw Castle gave a clue as to what he and the US foreign-policy establishment have in mind “post-Putin.” In Biden’s telling, “Over the last 30 years, the forces of autocracy have revived all across the globe.” And Russia, which “has strangled democracy” at home, now seeks to do so elsewhere.

Biden’s speech attempted to recast the war in Ukraine as part of a larger battle “between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.”………………………………………………….

 Washington’s attempt to remake Russia socially, economically and politically in the 1990s quite inadvertently resulted in the Russia we are confronted with today. 

So why does Washington insist on believing that its attempts to reshape Russia from the outside will somehow, someday work out? 

Kennan himself was under no such illusions:

“Of one thing we may be sure: No great and enduring change in the spirit and practice of government in Russia will ever come about primarily through foreign inspiration or advice. To be genuine, to be enduring and to be worth the hopeful welcome of other peoples such a change would have to flow from the initiative and efforts of the Russians themselves.”

The sooner President Biden and his advisers come around to the late George Kennan’s way of thinking regarding the desirability of regime change, the better.  https://asiatimes.com/2022/03/george-kennan-and-the-russian-future/

March 31, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

7 wildfires in Chernobyl Exclusion zone exceed Ukraine’s emergency classification tenfold.

 Seven wildfires have broken out in the exclusion zone surrounding the
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear
disaster, according to a statement by Ukraine’s Parliament. The fires,
which were observed via satellite, exceed Ukraine’s emergency
classification criteria tenfold.

Ukrainian officials stated that the fires
were caused by “the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, namely
the shelling or arson,” though this has not been independently verified.
Wildfires risk mobilizing and dispersing radioactive contaminants left over
from the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl.

 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 23rd March 2022

https://thebulletin.org/2022/03/wildfires-break-out-in-chernobyl-amid-a-non-functioning-radiation-monitoring-system/

March 31, 2022 Posted by | climate change, incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense warns on radioactivity danger from the Chernobyl Excusion Zone

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense warned yesterday that the Russian
occupation of the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone dramatically increases the risk
of the release of significant amounts of radioactive dust into the
atmosphere that could contaminate not only Ukraine but nearby European
countries.

According to the Ministry, Russian military transport, rockets,
artillery shells, and substandard mortar ammunition stored a few hundred
meters from the nuclear power plant run a high risk of detonation. The
Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant and facilities in the Exclusion Zone have
been under the control of the Russian military since 24 February, the first
day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Regulatory control over the state
of nuclear and radiation safety at the site is impossible.

 Byline Times 28th March 2022

March 31, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

UK’s energy security strategy delayed, as Cabinet split on nuclear power, and the Regulated Asset Base plan to pay for it.

Disagreements between Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak over the cost of
investment in new nuclear power stations have forced the government to
again delay its energy security strategy. The prime minister promised to
publish the strategy this month after Russia invaded Ukraine. Its
publication has been repeatedly put back amid cabinet disagreements over
fracking, onshore wind and the extent of government support for energy
efficiency projects.

Senior sources told The Times that while most issues
had been settled, disagreements between No 10 and the Treasury over the
extent to which new nuclear power should feature in the plan caused the
latest delay. Last week Johnson told nuclear industry bosses that the
government wanted the UK to get 25 per cent of its electricity from nuclear
power, requiring up to six new large-scale stations.

Sunak is understood to
be concerned at the cost of such a commitment, arguing it represents poor
value and would lead to substantial long-term increases in energy bills. He
is thought to be pushing Johnson to limit the government’s commitment to
two plants on top of one being built at Hinkley Point.

The Treasury’s
argument has been boosted by the National Infrastructure Commission that
has warned large-scale nuclear power plants are “incredibly difficult to
deliver on short timescales”. It has pointed out that even if the
government gave the go-ahead for more nuclear power stations and they took
as long as the Hinkley Point C project is expected to take, they would not
come online until the mid-2040s.

They have urged ministers to look at
“alternatives” that are more likely to be deliverable at scale in the
next 15 years. Ministers are legislating for a new model to fund nuclear
power plants to make them attractive to investors. But critics say the
regulated asset system would place the burden for delays and cost overruns
on consumers and increase energy bills. Supporters of new nuclear power,
including Johnson and Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, argue that
investing now is a “no regret” policy as demand for electricity is
forecast to double in the transition to net zero. It is understood the
strategy is now due next week. If that slips, the Easter recess and rules
on what the government can say before the May elections could push it
beyond the Queen’s Speech. 

Times 29th March 2022 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/cabinet-split-on-nuclear-power-delays-uk-energy-strategy-nmfznj377

March 31, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer srongly resisting Boris Johnson’s push for costly nuclear power.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak’s nuclear fallout sparks fresh delays to
UK energy security strategy. The Prime Minister is pushing for six to seven
new large nuclear power stations, but the Chancellor is concerned about the
massive cost. The proposals are being strongly resisted by the Treasury,
with the Chancellor concerned that the vast investment in nuclear would not
provide the taxpayer with value for money.

It has meant that the energy
package has been kicked further down the road, despite Mr Johnson having
previously pledged to publish the proposals at the start of the month. The
plans are also expected to include ways to produce more energy from
renewables, and increase North Sea oil and gas production. The Prime
Minister’s spokesman denied that they were being delayed because of a
disagreement, instead stating that it was “important we get these things
right”.

 iNews 28th March 2022

https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-rishi-sunak-nuclear-stand-off-delays-uk-energy-security-strategy-1544443

March 31, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment