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Zelensky Says He’s ‘Cooled’ on Joining NATO, Ready for Talks With Russia on Crimea, Donbas

Russia wants Ukraine to declare neutrality, recognize Crimea as Russian, and recognize the independence of the breakaway Donbas republics.  https://news.antiwar.com/2022/03/08/zelensky-says-hes-cooled-on-joining-nato-ready-for-talks-with-russia-on-crimea-donbas/ by Dave DeCamp 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told ABC News in an interview that aired Monday night that he had “cooled down” on the idea of Ukraine joining NATO and is open to talks with Russia about the future of the Donbas and Crimea.

“Regarding NATO, I have cooled down regarding this question long ago after we understood that NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “The alliance is afraid of controversial things and confrontation with Russia. I never wanted to be a country which is begging something on its knees. We are not going to be that country, and I don’t want to be that president.”

Regarding Crimea and the Donbas, Zelensky said Ukraine is not prepared for Russian “ultimatums” but is ready to discuss the status of the territories. “The people who elected me are not ready to surrender. We are not ready for ultimatums,” he said. “But we can discuss with Russia the future of Crimea and Donbas.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told ABC News in an interview that aired Monday night that he had “cooled down” on the idea of Ukraine joining NATO and is open to talks with Russia about the future of the Donbas and Crimea.

“Regarding NATO, I have cooled down regarding this question long ago after we understood that NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “The alliance is afraid of controversial things and confrontation with Russia. I never wanted to be a country which is begging something on its knees. We are not going to be that country, and I don’t want to be that president.”

Regarding Crimea and the Donbas, Zelensky said Ukraine is not prepared for Russian “ultimatums” but is ready to discuss the status of the territories. “The people who elected me are not ready to surrender. We are not ready for ultimatums,” he said. “But we can discuss with Russia the future of Crimea and Donbas.”

March 15, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine | Leave a comment

 Peace Talks in Ukraine “Will Get Nowhere” If US Keeps Refusing to Join

Chomsky: Peace Talks in Ukraine “Will Get Nowhere” If US Keeps Refusing to Join, https://truthout.org/articles/chomsky-peace-talks-in-ukraine-will-get-nowhere-if-us-keeps-refusing-to-join/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=0f3fe992-e64c-42c7-85ff-483718a7c020, C.J. Polychroniou, 14 Mar 22

As Russia steps up its assault on Ukraine and its forces advance on Kyiv, peace talks between the two sides were scheduled to resume today for the fourth time, but have now been postponed until tomorrow. Unfortunately, some opportunities for a peace agreement have already been squandered, so it’s hard to be optimistic about when the war will end. Regardless of when or how the war ends, though, its impact is already being felt across the international security system, as the rearmament of Europe shows. The Russian invasion of Ukraine also complicates the urgent fight against the climate crisis. The war takes a heavy toll on Ukraine and on the environment, but it also gives the fossil fuel industry extra leverage among governments.

In the interview that follows, world-renowned scholar and dissident Noam Chomsky shares his insights about the prospects for peace in Ukraine and how this war may impact our efforts to combat global warming.

Noam Chomsky, who is internationally recognized as one of the most important intellectuals alive, is the author of some 150 books and the recipient of scores of highly prestigious awards, including the Sydney Peace Prize and the Kyoto Prize (Japan’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize), and of dozens of honorary doctorate degrees from the world’s most renowned universities. Chomsky is Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT and currently Laureate Professor at the University of Arizona.

C.J. Polychroniou: Noam, while a fourth round of negotiations was scheduled to take place today between Russian and Ukrainian representatives, it is now postponed until tomorrow, and it still seems unlikely that peace will be reached in Ukraine any time soon. Ukrainians don’t appear likely to surrender, and Putin seems determined to continue his invasion. In that context, what do you think of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s response to Vladimir Putin’s four core demands, which were (a) cease military action, (b) acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory, (c) amend the Ukrainian constitution to enshrine neutrality, and (d) recognize the separatist republics in eastern Ukraine?

Noam Chomsky: Before responding, I would like to stress the crucial issue that must be in the forefront of all discussions of this terrible tragedy: We must find a way to bring this war to an end before it escalates, possibly to utter devastation of Ukraine and unimaginable catastrophe beyond. The only way is a negotiated settlement. Like it or not, this must provide some kind of escape hatch for Putin, or the worst will happen. Not victory, but an escape hatch. These concerns must be uppermost in our minds.

I don’t think that Zelensky should have simply accepted Putin’s demands. I think his public response on March 7 was judicious and appropriate.

In these remarks, Zelensky recognized that joining NATO is not an option for Ukraine. He also insisted, rightly, that the opinions of people in the Donbas region, now occupied by Russia, should be a critical factor in determining some form of settlement. He is, in short, reiterating what would very likely have been a path for preventing this tragedy — though we cannot know, because the U.S. refused to try.

As has been understood for a long time, decades in fact, for Ukraine to join NATO would be rather like Mexico joining a China-run military alliance, hosting joint maneuvers with the Chinese army and maintaining weapons aimed at Washington. To insist on Mexico’s sovereign right to do so would surpass idiocy (and, fortunately, no one brings this up). Washington’s insistence on Ukraine’s sovereign right to join NATO is even worse, since it sets up an insurmountable barrier to a peaceful resolution of a crisis that is already a shocking crime and will soon become much worse unless resolved — by the negotiations that Washington refuses to join.

………………………. Zelensky’s proposals considerably narrow the gap with Putin’s demands and provide an opportunity to carry forward the diplomatic initiatives that have been undertaken by France and Germany, with limited Chinese support. Negotiations might succeed or might fail. The only way to find out is to try. Of course, negotiations will get nowhere if the U.S. persists in its adamant refusal to join, backed by the virtually united commissariat, and if the press continues to insist that the public remain in the dark by refusing even to report Zelensky’s proposals.

In fairness, I should add that on March 13, the New York Times did publish a call for diplomacy that would carry forward the “virtual summit” of France-Germany-China, while offering Putin an “offramp,” distasteful as that is. The article was written by Wang Huiyao, president of a Beijing nongovernmental think tank.

C.J. Polychroniou: It also seems to me that, in some quarters, peace in Ukraine is hardly on top of the agenda. For example, there are plenty of voices both in the U.S. and in U.K. urging Ukraine to keep on fighting (although western governments have ruled out sending troops to defend Ukraine), probably in the hopes that the continuation of the war, in conjunction with the economic sanctions, may lead to regime change in Moscow. Yet, isn’t it the case that even if Putin actually falls from power, it would still be necessary to negotiate a peace treaty with whatever Russia government comes next, and that compromises would have to be made for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine?

Noam Chomsky: We can only speculate about the reasons for U.S.-U.K. total concentration on warlike and punitive measures, and refusal to join in the one sensible approach to ending the tragedy. Perhaps it is based on hope for regime change. If so, it is both criminal and foolish. Criminal because it perpetuates the vicious war and cuts off hope for ending the horrors, foolish because it is quite likely that if Putin is overthrown someone even worse will take over. That has been a consistent pattern in elimination of leadership in criminal organizations for many years, matters discussed very convincingly by Andrew Cockburn.

It is worth noticing that most of the world is keeping apart from the awful spectacle underway in Europe. One telling illustration is sanctions. Political analyst John Whitbeck has produced a map of sanctions against Russia: the U.S. and the rest of the Anglosphere, Europe and some of East Asia. None in the Global South, which is watching, bemused, as Europe reverts to its traditional pastime of mutual slaughter while relentlessly pursuing its vocation of destroying whatever else it chooses to within its reach: Yemen, Palestine, and far more. Voices in the Global South condemn Putin’s brutal crime, but do not conceal the supreme hypocrisy of western posturing about crimes that are a bare fraction of their own regular practices, right to the present.

C.J. Polychroniou: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may very well change the global order, especially with the likely emergence of the militarization of the European Union. What does the change in Germany’s Russia strategy — i.e., its rearmament and the apparent end of Ostpolitik — mean for Europe and global diplomacy?

Noam Chomsky: The major effect, I suspect, will be what I mentioned: more firm imposition of the U.S.-run, NATO-based Atlanticist model and curtailing once again the repeated efforts to create a European system independent of the U.S., a “third force” in world affairs, as it was sometimes called. That has been a fundamental issue since the end of World War II. Putin has settled it for the time being by providing Washington with its fondest wish: a Europe so subservient that an Italian university tried to ban a series of lectures on Dostoyevsky, to take just one of many egregious examples of how Europeans are making fools of themselves.

Meanwhile, it seems likely that Russia will drift further into China’s orbit, becoming even more of a declining kleptocratic raw materials producer than it is now. China is likely to persist in its programs of incorporating more and more of the world into the development-and-investment system based on the Belt-and-Road initiative, the “maritime silk road” that passes through the UAE into the Middle East, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The U.S. seems intent on responding with its comparative advantage: force. Right now, that includes Biden’s programs of “encirclement” of China by military bases and alliances, while perhaps even seeking to improve the U.S. economy as long as it is framed as competing with China. Just what we are observing now.

There is a brief period in which course corrections remain possible. It may soon come to an end as U.S. democracy, such as it still is, continues on its self-destructive course.

C.J. Polychroniou: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may also have dealt a severe blow to our hopes of tackling the climate crisis, at least in this decade. Do you have any comments to make on this rather bleak observation of mine?

Noam Chomsly: Appropriate comments surpass my limited literary skills. The blow is not only severe, but it may also be terminal for organized human life on earth, and for the innumerable other species that we are in the process of destroying with abandon.

In the midst of the Ukraine crisis, the IPCC released its 2022 report, by far the most dire warning it has yet produced. The report made it very clear that we must take firm measures now, with no delay, to cut back the use of fossil fuels and to move toward renewable energy. The warnings received brief notice, and then our strange species returned to devoting scarce resources to destruction and rapidly increasing its poisoning of the atmosphere, while blocking efforts for extricating itself from its suicidal path.

The fossil fuel industry can scarcely suppress its joy in the new opportunities the invasion has provided to accelerate its destruction of life on earth. In the U.S., the denialist party, which has successfully blocked Biden’s limited efforts to deal with the existential crisis, is likely to be back in power soon, so that it can resume the dedication of the Trump administration to destroy everything as quickly and effectively as possible.

These words might sound harsh. They are not harsh enough.

The game is not over. There still is time for radical course correction. The means are understood. If the will is there, it is possible to avert catastrophe and to move on to a much better world. The invasion of Ukraine has indeed been a severe blow to these prospects. Whether it constitutes a terminal blow or not is for us to decide.

March 15, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Message to Biden: Help De-Escalation in Ukraine or Risk Nuclear War

 https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/03/14/message-biden-help-de-escalation-ukraine-or-risk-nuclear-war, Instead of pouring in weapons and piling on sanctions, we should call on President Biden to begin good faith negotiations with all concerned parties, respecting each of their security concerns.

GERRY CONDON, March 14, 2022  “The first casualty of  war is truth.” This simple yet profound statement is attributed to many, including Hiram Johnson in a speech in the U.S. Senate in 1918, during the “war to end all wars.”……………….. 

As the war rages in Ukraine in 2022, actual combat is eclipsed by well-practiced information warfare. It was not surprising when the White House and State Department began shouting that the Russians were about to launch a “false flag” event to justify their pending invasion of Ukraine. After all, isn’t that the way it is always done? Isn’t that the way the US did it with the Tonkin Gulf Incident in Vietnam, babies being thrown out of incubators in Kuwait, and Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Of course, the US has a bigger challenge claiming self-defense as it invades smaller, weaker countries halfway around the globe. 

Twenty-four hour news coverage is keeping Americans hyped up and dumbed down

Once the fighting commences, deception is also an important ploy on the battlefield. The ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus wrote, “God is not adverse to deceit in a just cause.”  Aside from keeping the enemy guessing about when and where the next attack will be launched, it is critically important to maintain popular support for a questionable enterprise that requires the sacrifice of blood and treasure. 

Totally absent from nonstop coverage of the war and condemnations of Russian president Putin is any reporting on the role of the United States and NATO in creating the crisis over Ukraine. No reports about the relentless NATO expansion up to the very borders of Russia.  No mention of US missile emplacements in Romania and Poland.  Nothing about the unilateral US exit from vital nuclear treaties—the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (George W. Bush, 2002), and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (Donald Trump, 2018).

Twenty-four hour cable news coverage of the ugly war in Ukraine is keeping Americans hyped up and dumbed down.  The very real horror of war is on the screen for all to see. The bombed-out buildings, the mounting civilian casualties and the frightened refugees speak their own truth. Unfortunately, we rarely see the victims, the grieving families and the terrified refugees when the invader is the US. The “shock and awe” US terror bombing campaign on Baghdad was described by one network TV anchor as a “beautiful thing to see.”

Joe Biden is also worried about nuclear war, a serious concern for all modern presidents. Vladimir Putin is brandishing his large nuclear arsenal as a disincentive for direct US/NATO engagement in the Ukraine war. The US canceled a planned ICBM test launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California to its usual target in the much-bombed Marshall Islands. Apparently, the US did not want to risk spooking Putin, about whose mental state many people are speculating. Could it be that Putin is employing Richard Nixon’s famous “madman theory,” keeping his enemies at bay with unpredictability?

Of course, Russia has its own propaganda apparatus, but we will not be much exposed to it here in the US. Russia Today (RT) has been removed from most cable TV services as well as from YouTube. Well actually, almost everything Russian is currently being canceled, in a furious frenzy of the Russia-hating that has been central to US culture ever since World War II. The Russians are never given credit for their outsized role in defeating the Nazis, nor sympathy for the 27 million lives lost in that war.

The US routinely violates the UN Charter—and now Russia has done so

The Russian invasion is a terrible violation of the UN Charter, but hardly unprecedented. International law in no way restrained US war-making in Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia or Yemen. Russia’s invasion was not in self-defense—except in a preemptive sense—they were not under immediate military attack.

Some say that the ongoing Ukrainian war against two breakaway Russia-aligned provinces in eastern Ukraine provided Just Cause for Russia’s invasion. Fourteen thousand people have died in the violence there since 2014, when a US-backed coup overthrew a Russia-friendly president and replaced him with someone handpicked by the US.

Another annoying factoid is the well-documented role of Nazi militias in the 2014 coup and in the current government and military. These inconvenient truths in no way can justify the blatant Russian aggression, however, which is killing hundreds of innocent civilians and has created a dangerous crisis for humanity.

The Information War Presents the Peace Movement with a Dilemma

The nonstop barrage of information, misinformation, disinformation and rallying around the flag has presented the peace movement with a dilemma. How do peace-loving people righteously condemn the Russian invasion—the destruction of cities, the killing of hundreds of civilians, the displacement of millions?  How do we express our outrage and our strong disapproval of this aggression and violence without appearing to join in the war fervor that is sweeping the US?

Conversely, how do we explain the role of the US and NATO in creating this crisis without appearing to justify this horrible violence? How do we demand that President Biden stop pouring fuel on the fire by sending more weapons into Ukraine? How do we tell people that sanctions are not an alternative to war, but rather an escalation of war?

Escalation is the very last thing we want. The Ukraine war presents the entire world with an existential threat. It is not alarmist to say this is the greatest imminent threat of nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The one where the US was reacting to Russian nuclear missiles being positioned in Cuba, way too close for comfort. Does that ring a bell?

The Danger of Nuclear War Should Focus Our Attention

The very real danger of nuclear war should focus all our attention. With both US and Russian nukes on “hair-trigger alert,” what could go wrong? And then there are the 15 or so nuclear power plants in Ukraine, several of them reportedly compromised by the war. Is that a real threat or is it war propaganda? Perhaps both. It is in EVERYBODY’s interest to end this very dangerous war as soon as possible.

Joe Biden is not new to this conflict. Biden and—famously—his son Hunter, have been involved in the Ukraine mess at least since the 2014 coup, after which a Ukrainian oil company paid Hunter Biden $50,000 a month to sit on its Board. No conflict of interest there, all the Democrats insisted. Even without family enrichment, Joe Biden has long been dedicated to the Cold War project of putting the Soviet Union—and now Russia—in its place, which is no place, and with no respect.

The United States leads NATO—the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe is always a U.S. general. President Biden probably could have headed off the Russian invasion by simply saying publicly that Ukraine would not become a member of NATO. But he refused to do that. He called Putin’s bluff, and Putin showed him it was no bluff.

President Biden Must Act Now to De-Escalate this Dangerous War

Whatever disagreements there are about how the Ukraine war came about, reasonable people should be able to agree on this: This war is very dangerous. It threatens to become a wider war in Europe. It could even lead to a civilization-ending nuclear war.  It therefore must be brought to an end as soon as possible. 

President Biden is in a position to make a bold diplomatic move that could bring this war to a screeching halt. Instead of pouring in weapons and piling on sanctions, we should call on President Biden to begin good faith negotiations with all concerned parties, respecting each of their security concerns.

Once the world has—hopefully—pulled back from the brink, we should begin a serious international discussion about how to abolish nuclear weapons and war once and for all. How will we avoid getting into the same kind of war with China over Taiwan? How can the United States adjust to a multi-polar world where it is no longer The Sheriff?

Veterans For Peace is offering its own Nuclear Posture Review, with sections on Russia and Europe and all the nuclear powers. It makes well-researched recommendations, such as implementing No First Use policies and taking nuclear missiles off “hair-trigger alert.” It calls on the US to rejoin the ABM and INF treaties, and to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It calls on the U.S. to initiate negotiations “to reduce and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons,” as the five permanent UN Security Council members—the original nuclear powers—agreed when they signed the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. If the United States and other nuclear powers had kept their promise to eliminate nuclear weapons, we would probably not be at war today in Ukraine, or worrying about Armageddon.

March 15, 2022 Posted by | media, politics, spinbuster, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

HELEN CALDICOTT: Russia’s war could spell worldwide nuclear disaster

The U.S., as always, standing on its self-righteous dignity, is retaliating with economic sanctions and arming NATO neighbours with murderous weapons.  It has rejected outright Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plea to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and to remove the missiles pointed at Russia in NATO countries that were liberated from the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War after Secretary of State James Baker promised that the U.S. would not enlarge NATO inch to the east.

HELEN CALDICOTT: Russia’s war could spell worldwide nuclear disaster  https://independentaustralia.net/article-display/helen-caldicott-russias-war-could-spell-worldwide-nuclear-disaster,16149

By Helen Caldicott | 14 March 2022,  Boasting the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal, Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine could spell catastrophe on a global scale, writes Dr Helen Caldicott.

The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe” ~ Albert Einstein

How right he was. Now laced with thousands of nuclear weapons, some on hair-trigger alert, with a 

determined leader invading a neighbouring country and threatening to use his nuclear arsenal, planetary life is hovering on the edge of obliteration.

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world witnessed the dreadful human tragedy of atomic bombs:

‘People exposed within half a mile of the Little Boy fireball, that is, were seared to bundles of smoking black char in a fraction of a second as their internal organs boiled away. The small black bundles now stuck to the streets and bridges and sidewalks of Hiroshima numbered in the thousands.’

Knowing man’s propensity to fight, why in God’s name did the U.S. Government and Soviet Union authorise the brilliant scientists and weapons makers to construct thousands of nuclear weapons during and after the Cold War, culminating in more than 70,000 nuclear weapons during the ’70s and ’80s?

About 40 per cent of all U.S. scientists, engineers and technical professionals are engaged in weapons construction and design. And currently, Russia has 6,255 nuclear weapons, the U.S. has 5,550 and China, 350.

I am a physician, so let me describe the medical effects of a single bomb dropping on a city, be it New York or Boston. A Russian 20-megaton bomb would enter at 20 times the speed of sound exploding with the heat of the sun, digging a hole three-quarters of a mile (1.27 kilometres) wide and 88 feet (26.8 metres) deep, converting all buildings, people and earth shot up into the air as a mushroom cloud.

Twenty miles (32.2 kilometres) from the epicentre, all humans would be killed or lethally injured, some converted to charcoal statues. Winds of 500 mph (804 km/h) turn people into missiles travelling at 100 mph (161 km/h). A massive conflagration would follow covering 300 square miles (776.9 km2) and the fires would coalesce across the nation

As cities burn across the world, a massive cloud of toxic black smoke will elevate into the stratosphere blocking out the sun for ten years inducing a short ice age nuclear winter when all humans and most plants and animals will perish.

But the war in Ukraine is more than dangerous, hosting Chernobyl which contaminated 40 per cent of the European land mass with radioactive isotopes, together with 15 nuclear reactors and which could suffer meltdowns during wartime activities, causing unbelievable injury and death to people across Europe.

And a plant with six reactors was recently under attack.

God help us all.

The U.S., as always, standing on its self-righteous dignity, is retaliating with economic sanctions and arming NATO neighbours with murderous weapons.  It has rejected outright Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plea to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and to remove the missiles pointed at Russia in NATO countries that were liberated from the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War after Secretary of State James Baker promised that the U.S. would not enlarge NATO one inch to the east.

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Electric Power Restored to Ukraine’s Chernobyl Plant

Power Restored to Ukraine’s Chernobyl Plant, Seized by Russian Forces: Kyiv,   Moscow Times, 14 Mar 22, Electricity supply has been restored at Ukraine’s retired Chernobyl nuclear power plant that was seized by Russian forces in the first days of the invasion, energy officials in Kyiv said Sunday……….

Power had been cut to the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, though the UN’s atomic watchdog said there was “no critical impact to safety.”…………..

Ukraine said on Wednesday power had been cut to the plant, but the UN’s atomic watchdog said there was “no critical impact on safety.”

Russian forces also shelled and captured the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europea’s biggest atomic power plant, on March 4, causing a fire that raised alarm in Europe over a possible nuclear catastrophe.

Russian engineers arrived at Zaporizhzhia earlier this week to check radiation levels. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/03/13/bermuda-suspends-licenses-for-hundreds-of-russian-aircraft-a76907

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fossil and nuclear energy regimes threaten global security

Opinion: The deadly power of the troika of oil, gas and nuclear energy is unfolding before our eyes

New Brunswick Media Co-Op, by Janice Harvey, March 14, 2022

Vladimir Putin’s terror campaign against Ukraine has pulled back the curtain on the tightly integrated, brittle, and destructive energy regime that fuels the industrialized world. This regime poses an immediate threat to the survival of the people of Ukraine, and the longer-term survival of civilization itself. The deadly power of the troika of oil, gas and nuclear energy is unfolding before our eyes as Ukraine pays the price for a path all our countries have forged.

Energy is a source of two kinds of power – the kind that turns on lights, heats homes, and turns engines and the kind that drives politics. While there are many options for providing the energy services we all need, only some create authoritarian petrostates, transnational corporations with budgets larger than many nations, and billionaire oligarchs. Only some finance wars and inflict gross injustices on those in the paths of rigs and pipelines. Only some emit pollutants that kills millions every year.  Only some create deadly wastes that will persist longer into the future than humans have walked on this Earth. Only some turn a conventional missile into a nuclear weapon. Only some destroy the climate that makes Earth liveable.

All these existential threats are associated with the global networks of political and economic power built by transnational energy corporations. Energy policy has long been dominated by ‘iron triangles’ of energy business interests, ‘client’-oriented energy bureaucrats, and captured politicians. Whether it is Putin’s transnational petrodollars, Western Europe’s energy tap line to Russia, or nuclear plants dotting the European landscape, governments and whole countries have become entangled in a dangerous, brittle system that now threatens global security.

The inevitable outcome is the world on a knife-edge.

In the midst of Russia’s oil-financed terror campaign, the international climate science body issued its latest report documenting our collective descent into climate hell. UN Secretary-General Guterres called the report ‘an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.’

Enter the nuclear industry. After languishing for decades in Western countries due to intractable liabilities, and a legitimacy crisis following narrow escapes and full-blown disasters at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, opportunistic nuclear interests have seized on the climate emergency to promote itself as the ‘clean’ energy solution. This falsehood has now been exposed in Ukraine. Every nuclear reactor and nuclear waste storage site is a potential nuclear weapon, minus the blast and fireball. All Putin has to do to wreak radioactive havoc across Europe is target a nuclear facility or two with conventional missiles. Uncontrolled nuclear reactions and wind currents will do the rest.

Yet, the Liberal government’s climate action plan includes pouring hundreds of millions into an industry that would build modular nukes to export around the world, each one a target for a despot or a terrorist. This is all laid out in the federal “SMR Action Plan” that the nuclear industry helped to write, with funding disguised within the $8 billion “Net Zero Accelerator”.

New Brunswick is vying to become the hub for producing this deadly commodity. Nuclear experts from the United States have exposed the security threat inherent in the plutonium feedstock – the stuff of nuclear weapons – that one of the New Brunswick models requires. But even without diverting that fuel into a nuclear weapons program, the plant only needs to exist to be a nuclear target.

The Ukraine catastrophe should be enough to halt nuclear expansion in its tracks. Trading one existential threat (fossil fuel dependency) for another (an even wider network of nuclear targets) is a callous, willful betrayal of the public trust by those politicians enabling it…………..

Political leaders in Canada and abroad have two choices before them. They can deepen domestic and global energy and security vulnerabilities and hasten climate breakdown by building more pipelines, escalating oil and gas production, and enabling the expansion of the nuclear industry. Or they can work towards the elimination of energy as a geopolitical weapon and an existential threat to the civilization. It is up to us citizens to hold them accountable for the choice they make.

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Canada, safety | Leave a comment

Why New Technology Is Making Nuclear Arms Control Harder

The US, China, and Russia are locked in a high-tech race to perfect new nuclear capabilities, rendering some Cold War safeguards obsolete. Defense One, PATRICK TUCKER | MARCH 14, 2022  

The risks associated with nuclear weapons are rising once again, the heads of three U.S. intelligence agencies told lawmakers last week, as Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine intensified.

t wasn’t supposed to be this way.

At the end of the Cold War, President George H.W. Bush boasted that the United States could now reduce its nuclear forces. But today’s arsenals—and global politics—are much different than in 1991. U.S. leaders face threatening dictatorships in Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and Pyongyang, all racing to create new nuclear bombs and ways to deliver them. Technology, it turns out, is making arms control harder, and that’s forcing a big rethink about nuclear deterrence.

Thirty years later, the United States is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on 21st-century versions of the nuclear triad’s strategic bombers, nuclear-powered submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBM. At the same time, China, Russia, and the United States are also developing new types of hypersonic missiles that, maneuvering at more than five times the speed of sound, make Cold War-era ICBMs look like Chrysler Imperials. But these new missiles don’t doesn’t replace the old ones: they just add to the stuff each nation must buy to keep up.  

Beyond the delivery systems, today’s nuclear command-and-control systems include a vast network of satellites; sensors, including drone-mounted ones; and computer systems constantly being developed, maintained, and upgraded.

Some argue that while U.S. leaders could have used the post-Cold War era’s peace dividend to dismantle global nuclear arsenals, instead the Pentagon’s own ambitions for newer missile-defense technology forced the rising autocratic regimes of other global powers to respond in kind. Heavy U.S. investment in developing new ballistic missile defense, in particular, prompted Russia and China on their current path to develop highly-maneuverable hypersonic weapons.

Several senior U.S. military leaders declined interview requests for this article; Defense Department leaders keep current nuclear concerns close to their vest. But in 2019, the Air Force released a collection of papers in which leaders already were lodging concerns. In it, Maj. Jeff Hill, said that newly developed U.S. defenses against Russian and Chinese missiles “has led each of these two countries to aggressively pursue its own [highly-maneuverable hypersonic missile] programs. Russia specifically highlights ‘American military-technological advances’ including its ballistic missile defense program as an area of concern in relation to deterrence,” citing the work of Kristin Ven Bruusgaard, one of the foremost Western academic experts on Russian nuclear strategy. His work was published as part of a U.S. Air Force Center for Strategic Deterrence Studies student research project that assessed the influence of hypersonic weapons on deterrence.

All this makes preparing for and deterring nuclear war a great deal more complex than it was during the 1950s and 1960s.

“There’s a number of very fundamental assumptions that we have made over the last 30 years, that really are no longer valid,” said Adm. Charles Richard said at September’s Deterrence Symposium. Richard leads U.S. Strategic Forces, or STRATCOM, which oversees the military’s nuclear arsenal. “After the fall of the Soviet Union and the [U.S.] success in Desert Storm, we achieved a national security environment where, I would argue that, the risk of a strategic deterrent failure, and, in particular, the risk of a nuclear deterrence failure, was low…. We started taking it for granted and forgot all the things that we had to do, from a strategic deterrence standpoint, to get us to that environment to begin with.” 

…………………  China has since vastly expanded its arsenal; in 2020, Pentagon officials estimated it numbered “in the low 200s,” and could double. It has also built out its own nuclear triad, with nuclear-capable stealth bombers; four Type 094 ballistic missile submarines; and on land, truck-mounted missile launchers

 and an estimated 300 completed and planned ICBM silos.

………………And the emergence of a third huge nuclear arsenal complicates deterrence theory, STRATCOM’s Richard said.
“In general, deterrence theory doesn’t really account for a three-party problem. How you do deterrence with three, peer nuclear-capable competitors?” Richard said. “The Cold War was very much a two-party competition.”

Meanwhile, U.S. military planners are changing their definition of “strategic” deterrence, weapons, and attacks. During the Cold War, this almost always referred to nuclear war. But today’s planners use the term to include non-nuclear threats and technologies that could have devastating effects—for example, destroying an adversary’s ability to see an attack coming or respond to it. 

“Strategic effects can be much broader than simply ‘nuclear,’ in terms of what could possibly be done in cyber or possibly be done in space, critical infrastructure, information domain, role of allies and partners. All of that, I think, requires a very critical relook,” Richard said. 

That nuance is often lost in the contemporary conversation about nuclear weapons and deterrence. In 2018, a New York Times article, “Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear Arms” sparked frenzied concern that the United States under President Donald Trump was lowering its bar for launching a nuclear strike…………

Future nuclear weapons, including ICBMs, will likely be part of a complex, interconnected digital architecture, and will likely exhibit “some level of connectivity to the rest of the warfighting system,” Werner J.A. Dahm, then-chairman of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, predicted in 2016. His warning came on the eve of a major study by the Air Force to see how trustworthy nuclear weapons would be if they were networked together, a study that was never publicly released. 

Super Maneuverable Missiles 

Perhaps the biggest change to nuclear deterrence is the appearance of new types of hypersonic weapons. Unlike Cold-War era ICBMs, the new class of hypersonics that China and Russia (along with the United States) are pursuing are steerable, allowing an adversary to target a much wider space with one missile, and making such missiles very difficult to defend against…………………..

any country could use a non-nuclear hypersonic missile to strike its adversary’s nuclear command-and-control targets…………….

The development of these new “invincible” weapons—as Russian leader Vladimir Putin has called them—has triggered a concurrent arms race for new concepts to defeat them. One U.S. answer has been the use of new satellite architectures to watch hypersonics as they proceed along their flight path, in addition to new sensors and object-finding software to spot things like mobile missile launchers.

,………………………………….  https://www.defenseone.com/policy/2022/03/why-new-technology-making-nuclear-arms-control-harder/363135/

March 15, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety, technology | Leave a comment

The Ukraine war is bad for USA’s nuclear industry- hard to get the Highly Enriched Uranium needed from Russia for Advanced Nuclear Reactors


How Russia’s invasion is affecting U.S. nuclear
, EE News, By Hannah Northey | 03/14/2022   

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is raising questions about the cost and flow of fuel to existing and yet-to-be commercialized advanced U.S. reactors touted by advocates as a tool for tackling climate change.

President Biden didn’t target the nuclear sector when he issued an executive order this month to block imports of Russian crude and natural gas.

But as the war drags on for a third week, the White House is consulting with the nuclear sector about the potential impact of imposing sanctions on Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy company, according to Bloomberg, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

The White House did not immediately confirm talks with the nuclear industry.

Sanctions on Rosatom, sources told E&E News, could pose long-term challenges for the United States’ fleet of more than 90 reactors running on low-enriched uranium.

While the existing plants have enough fuel for the next six to eight months and possibly longer, experts say sanctions on Russian imports could raise the global cost of low-enriched uranium and rile U.S. plants sensitive to cost swings. Russia supplies 20 percent of the low-enriched uranium needed to run American nuclear plants, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Others say the larger concern may sit with advanced reactor demonstrations expected to come online around 2028 that will require high-assay, low-enriched uranium, or HALEU. That’s because Russia is the only viable commercial supplier globally and other firms are years away from readily providing such fuel, they say.

Groups like Beyond Nuclear have said the Russian invasion highlights the liability of nuclear power and spent fuel, arguing the fuel source cannot be a climate solution.

Frank von Hippel, a physicist and professor emeritus at Princeton University, said the bigger challenge for nuclear power is that the technology is not economically competitive…………..

Russia represents— about 20 percent in 2020 — of the enriched uranium making its way to American reactors. Concerns about what steps the Biden administration would take regarding uranium began surfacing publicly when Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported earlier this month that NEI urged the White House to keep uranium sales exempt from sanctions (Energywire, March 3)…………………

Focus on advanced reactors

Possible sanctions on Russia could affect the current timeline for the deployment of advanced reactors in the U.S., said Jeff Merrifield, who sat on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and is now a Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP law firm partner.

Merrifield agreed Russia is the most readily available short-term option for providing fuel for advanced reactors that will need HALEU, uranium that’s enriched between 5 percent and 20 percent — higher rates that allow smaller designs to get more power for their size.

The first projects that would need a steady source of HALEU could be the Energy Department’s advanced reactor demonstration program, including a TerraPower plant in Wyoming and an X-energy project in Washington state. Those plants are expected to come online around 2028.

To be sure, sources of HALEU outside Russia are emerging — but industry and regulatory sources E&E News spoke with said it’s a matter of demand and timing as advanced reactors come online……………  https://www.eenews.net/articles/how-russias-invasion-is-affecting-u-s-nuclear/

March 15, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, technology, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

The return of the nuclear threat

The return of the nuclear threat https://www.dw.com/en/the-return-of-the-nuclear-threat/a-6112192

Nuclear arms were a symbol of the Cold War. The recent Russian threats in the war with Ukraine have put them on the map again for many people. How does deterrence work and what kind of protection does Europe have?

When Russian President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear force on “a special regime of alert” at the start of the Ukraine war, Europe was stunned. In early March, Putin moved on to the next step, sending nuclear-armed Russian submarines and mobile missile units into military exercises. Was he threatening a nuclear attack?

With more than 6,300 warheads, Russia has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. Within NATO, the United States has the largest nuclear force, with about 5,800 nuclear warheads. France is said to have almost 300 warheads, and the UK allegedly has about 215. Exact figures are not available as the nations in question keep a lot of information under wraps in connection with their nuclear programs.

European protection from nuclear attack

Notwithstanding the US’s role as nuclear umbrella, European countries could not prevent a nuclear attack with military means. The “umbrella” is based on the assumption that an adversary would not dare to attack NATO countries with nuclear weapons because that aggressor would have to expect a counterattack.

Psychology of deterrence

NATO’s nuclear powers pursue different concepts of deterrence. France and Britain rely on a so-called minimum deterrent. They do not assume an exchange of nuclear strikes over several days, they believe the  ability to retaliate or to stop the opponent with a “final warning shot” (France) to be sufficient.

The US, on the other hand, relies on deterrence that includes nuclear weapons with reduced explosive power — US military planners envisage, at least theoretically, the possibility of “limited nuclear war.”

From a legal point of view, almost any use of a nuclear weapon, with the massive impact it has on civilians, violates international humanitarian law. Theoretically, conceivable exceptions include a limited nuclear attack on a warship at sea.

German contribution to deterrence

Germany’s contribution to Europe’s nuclear deterrence involves German Air Force Tornado fighter jets stationed at Büchel air base in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. In an emergency, the jets, with German crews, would fly US nuclear weapons to the target. At least once a year, Bundeswehr pilots train dropping US nuclear bomb dummies.

The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy also participate in NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements. Between 100 and 150 comparatively imprecise nuclear gravity bombs certified for Tornado aircraft are reportedly currently stored in Europe.

“The bombs are a relic of a bygone era whose military significance today is minor,” says Peter Rudolf, a political scientist at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. In order to use them, however, the enemy’s air defenses would first have to be eliminated, which at the most seems conceivable in a major war.

Nuclear sharing concept

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says the German contribution to the nuclear deterrent is not up for discussion, even if the nuclear sharing concept has quite a few critics in the governing coalition. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced on Monday that Germany will replace some of its ageing Tornado bomber jets with US-made F-35 fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Immediately after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Scholz had held out the prospect of purchasing those planes. 

Still regarded as an important political symbol today, nuclear sharing had far greater significance for Germany during the Cold War than it does today. In the days of the Warsaw Pact, Germany would have been situated at the heart of the battle in the event of an armed conflict with NATO. Nuclear sharing opened up the possibility for the German government in Bonn to exert at least limited influence on the alliance’s nuclear strategy.

Who decides on the use of nuclear arms?

The US president is the first to decide on the use of the US nuclear weapons stored in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. He or she would authorize the release of the bombs, and the country where they are deployed would have to agree to the bombs being dropped by its own fighter jets. Before such a deployment, the other NATO allies would presumably consult in the North Atlantic Council (NAC), NATO’s principal political decision-making body.

The deployment of the French nuclear force is decided solely by the French president, and the British prime minister makes the decision for the UK. The three decision-making centers for nuclear weapons are considered an element of deterrence, as they make it difficult for an opponent to calculate how NATO would react in the event of an attack.

Nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war

Russian military doctrine is no stranger to the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield. Russia possesses such weapons, as does the US. The media debated the possible use of such tactical nuclear weapons over the Black Sea after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but so far Western military observers have no evidence that the Russian military is considering or preparing to use tactical or sub-strategic nuclear weapons.

“First and foremost, the Russian threats have a political function,” says SWP expert Rudolf. “It is a message to the US not to interfere in Ukraine beyond a certain limit.”

Nuclear vs. chemical weapons

The Chemical Weapons Convention outlaws the use of chemical weapons internationally. Russia officially destroyed its last chemical warhead nearly five years ago. The US aims to achieve that goal next year. Unlike chemical weapons, which were used even after World War II (most recently in the civil war in Syria), nuclear weapons have not been used since atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in World War II.

“There seems to have been a normative threshold since 1945 to use nuclear weapons in conflicts, despite US deliberations in the 1950s and 1960s,” Rudolf says, adding that policymakers have developed a great reluctance where nuclear arms are concerned.

“This is probably due to feelings of moral discomfort, as well as fear of the consequences,” the SWP expert says, arguing that after all, the use of nuclear weapons “could set off a chain that ends in mutual annihilation.”

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK government now considering extending life of Sizewell nuclear power station by 20 years

UK looking to extend life of nuclear plant by 20 years amid energy crisis, Ft/com 14 Mar 22, Sizewell B in Suffolk was due to be decommissioned in 2035 and can meet about 3% of Britain’s electricity demand  

The UK is looking at a 20-year extension of the Sizewell B nuclear power plant on England’s east coast to 2055 as Boris Johnson aims to bolster domestic energy supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The extension is one of several options under consideration as the prime minister draws up a new “energy supply strategy”, which will be published next week against the backdrop of highly volatile international gas prices and an escalating cost-of-living crisis.  ……………………….

Britain is set to experience a significant loss in nuclear capacity by the end of the decade as EDF of France and the UK’s Centrica, which own all of the current fleet of reactors, have been forced to close several earlier than planned.

 EDF’s 1.2 gigawatt Sizewell B plant in Suffolk, which started operating in 1995 and can meet about 3 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand, is the only one of Britain’s six remaining atomic power plants that will continue generating beyond the end of the decade. Only one new station, the 3.2GW Hinkley Point C in Somerset, is currently under construction. It is due to come on stream in 2026.  

Ministers are encouraging investors to build another new plant on a site adjacent to Sizewell B but are also keen for EDF to invest the estimated £500mn-£700mn that would be needed to extend the lifetime of the existing station to 2055. 

 Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary, visited Sizewell in January, where he met EDF directors and some of the workforce. Government officials said Kwarteng was supportive towards EDF, which is “actively exploring” a 20-year extension for Sizewell B and is aiming to take a final decision on the project in 2024, for which UK government approval would be required. “It probably will be extended,” said one official.  …………….   https://www.ft.com/content/51d4ff8c-f0c0-4082-8db6-11c031be1420

March 15, 2022 Posted by | politics, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Another burst of tax-payer funding for Bill Gate’s gee-whiz Natrium reactor project


TerraPower receives $8.5M grant to explore recovering uranium from used nuclear fuel, Oil City News

By BRENDAN LACHANCE

CASPER, Wyo. — TerraPower, the Bill Gates–founded company working toward building a new nuclear reactor in Kemmerer, Wyoming, said in a press release Monday that it has been awarded an $8.5 million grant from the U.S Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).

The grant funding is part of ARPA-E’s Optimizing Nuclear Waste and Advanced Reactor Disposal Systems (ONWARDS) program that aims to increase the use of nuclear power as a source of clean energy while limiting the amount of nuclear waste created by advanced reactors……

TerraPower and GE technology is going into the new Natrium nuclear reactor, which is expected to be built in Wyoming as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advance Reactor Demonstration program.

“TerraPower is further demonstrating, through the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE), a uranium chloride salt–fueled concept with the DOE, Southern Company and other partners, and advancing medical research and innovation through its TerraPower Isotopes® subsidiary,” the press release states.

TerraPower President and CEO Chris Levesque added in the press release that “TerraPower continues to advance nuclear energy’s promise for our country and the world………… https://oilcity.news/wyoming/energy/2022/03/14/terrapower-receives-8-5m-grant-to-explore-recovering-uranium-from-used-nuclear-fuel/

March 15, 2022 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Rolls Royce wants to hurry up the introduction of small nuclear reactors, but UK govt is focussed on a big one for Wylfa

Rolls-Royce calls for accelerated SMR rollout as Boris considers bigger plans for Wylfa

14 MAR, 2022 BY CATHERINE KENNEDY  ROLLS-ROYCE IS APPEALING TO THE UK GOVERNMENT TO SPEED UP THE ROLLOUT OF SMALL MODULAR REACTORS (SMRS), WHILE PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON IS REPORTEDLY KEEN TO REVIVE PLANS FOR THE WYLFA NEWYDD NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN RESPONSE TO THE UK ENERGY CRISIS.

There is a pressing need to improve the UK’s energy security, with prices soaring due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and alternative solutions are being explored to plug the gap.

Rolls-Royce submitted SMR designs for Wylfa and Trawsfynydd for assessment last week. However extensive safety checks are needed and these are not expected to come online until the 2030s. As such, government sources told the Telegraph that Rolls-Royce is frustrated with the lack of progress.

Meanwhile according to The Times, government sources have also said Johnson is determined to press ahead with plans for a large scale nuclear plant at Wylfa, with the government in talks with US nuclear reactor manufacturer Westinghouse and the engineering firm Bechtel about a proposal to develop the site. The government has so far set aside £120M to support the project………..

Wylfa had previously been in the running as a potential site for a large-scale nuclear power plant, but the decision was taken to push forward with Sizewell C in Suffolk instead.

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | 1 Comment

Ukraine war triggers debate on Japan’s nuclear option,


The Interpreter.  PURNENDRA JAIN, 14 Mar 22,

In a new and volatile strategic environment, a decades-
old commitment on non-proliferation is up for discussion.

In the wake of the Ukraine conflict, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s former prime minister and now head of the largest faction of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has suggested that Japan consider hosting US nuclear weapons facilities on Japanese soil, similar to some European nations, such as Germany, which have nuclear sharing arrangements with the United States.

Abe’s suggestion was made in the context of Ukraine having renounced nuclear weapons in 1994, leaving itself vulnerable today. The announcement also comes on top of deepening concerns about China’s growing military assertiveness around Japan’s maritime space and beyond, and the dangerous situation on the Korean peninsula with threats from the nuclear-capable rocket-launching North Korea.

Debates over whether Japan should host nuclear weapons or even go fully nuclear are not new…………..  Discussion has since continued among political and scholarly communities as to whether Japan should go nuclear, opt for a nuclear sharing arrangement with the United States by hosting nuclear weapons, or maintain its current non-nuclear weapons status.

This latest eruption though is in a different context. This time, chairman of the General Council of the LDP Tatsuo Fukuda, who like his father Yasuo Fukuda before him holds an influential ruling party post and is touted as a future prime minister, has suggested that “we must not shy away from any debate whatsoever”. Last year’s LDP party presidential candidate and current LDP policy chief Sanae Takaichi also favours a debate. Some smaller conservative opposition parties want to include nuclear options in policy discussions while considering Japan’s strategic objectives. The main opposition parties have, however, strongly resisted any such prospects, arguing in favour of Japan’s non-nuclear status.


Abe’s suggestion was promptly and solidly rejected by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, as well as by the leader of the Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling LDP. Even Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi, Abe’s younger brother, adopted into the Kishi family, also dismissed the idea of hosting nuclear weapons on Japanese shores. Kishi may have expressed this view in order to align with his boss, Prime Minister Kishida, rather than reflecting his true thinking on the matter, given his political pedigree.

Kishida quickly confirmed that Japan firmly adheres to the three non-nuclear principles adopted in 1967, to not possess, produce or permit the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan’s territory. These principles remain sacrosanct, even though Japan has made substantial departures in defence and security matters in the past decade…………….

Not only has the Kishida government announced an intended update to the NSS, first issued in 2013, it has also promised to revise the National Defence Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defence Program issued in 2013 and 2018. All these updates and revisions are undertaken in view of a rapid transformation in the strategic environment……………….

Japan, along with Germany, has often been recognised as an example of a “civilian state”. Germany currently hosts US nuclear weapons facilities and, in view of the Ukraine conflict, has announced a significant increase to its defence budget. Calls are now being made to urge Japan to follow suit.

The postwar US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security has ensured that Japan has lived happily under US extended deterrence, including the nuclear umbrella. This arrangement is unlikely to change, barring an existential threat to Japan’s territory and sovereignty. But what seemed to be taboo in terms of Japan’s strategic policy – that is, breaching one per cent of GDP on defence spending and developing strike capabilities – is now being discussed seriously. No policy in international relations is eternal, it must change as a nation’s interests change. https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/ukraine-war-triggers-debate-japan-s-nuclear-option

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Japan, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US to help Philippines develop nuclear power program; groups push renewable energy instead


US to help Philippines develop nuclear power program; groups push renewable energy instead

Angelica Y. Yang – Philstar.com

March 14, 2022 MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding last week to work together to develop the Philippines’ nuclear power program.

The MOU was signed by Energy Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza and US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins………….

The EO, which was signed on February 28, instructs the DOE to develop and implement the nuclear energy program under the Philippine Energy Plan, a comprehensive energy blueprint which details the energy sector’s goals in achieving a clean energy future. 

Duterte said in the EO that nuclear power is a “viable alternative source” of baseload power that can bridge the gap between rising demand and supply. 

The EO also instructed an interagency body — the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee —to study the possible use of the $2.2-billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which was mothballed and never refueled.

Public policy think tank InfraWatch PH earlier told Philstar.com that Duterte’s EO comes a little too late as he has only a few months left in his term. This leaves the fate of his nuclear push to his successor who may choose to adopt or reverse the new energy policy. 

‘Nuclear will not solve climate crisis’

Manila-based climate and energy policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities said that, contrary to the government’s claims, nuclear is no better than coal.

“Nuclear is even worse than coal for energy security and self-sufficiency. It has always been plagued with protracted construction timelines and gargantuan costs that require constant massive subsidies,” ICSC Executive Director Red Constantino told Philstar.com over email on Monday.

“[Nuclear] can only operate on a single level and cannot be ramped up or down. It is extremely rigid and completely unfit to respond to the country’s load profile,” he said. 

Constantino said the DOE should take its power sector modernization goals more seriously and prioritize flexible generation by ramping up support for renewable energy.

Last week, activists from environmental group Greenpeace Philippines marched to the DOE and called the push for nuclear power a “questionable energy policy which is the last thing the country needs.”

The protest took place on March 11 during the commemoration of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, which killed at least 20,000 people, contaminated 240,000 square kilometers of land and caused $235 billion (around P12 trillion) of damage. 

“Greenpeace…maintains that nuclear power will not solve the climate crisis. The entire nuclear power plant life cycle contributes significantly to climate change, and these facilities take an average of 10 years to build,” the group said in a statement. 

Citing findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Greenpeace said humanity only has until 2030 to keep the global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

“Setting up the country’s nuclear program and building a plant will take decades. Meanwhile, Filipinos will continue to suffer from climate impacts,” it said.

nstead of focusing on a nuclear policy, the current administration should have instead doubled its efforts to ensure that renewable energy “gets a better foothold” in the country’s energy future, according to Greenpeace Campaigner Khevin Yu.  https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/03/14/2167242/us-help-philippines-develop-nuclear-power-program-groups-push-renewable-energy-instead

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics international | Leave a comment

US Republican senators say they will not back Iran nuclear deal

US Republican senators say they will not back Iran nuclear deal, Aljazeera, 14 Mar 22,

Republican lawmakers oppose, but lack power to block, an agreement with Tehran sought by US President Joe Biden. 
Forty-nine of the 50 Republicans in the US Senate have announced they will not back a new nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, underscoring their party’s opposition to attempts to revive a 2015 accord amid fears multilateral nuclear talks might collapse.

In a statement on Monday, the Republican senators pledged to do everything in their power to reverse an agreement that does not “completely block” Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, constrain its ballistic missile programme and “confront Iran’s support for terrorism”

……………………….   US lawmaker Rand Paul was the only Senate Republican who did not sign Monday’s statement. In an emailed statement, he said, “Condemning a deal that is not yet formulated is akin to condemning diplomacy itself, not a very thoughtful position.”

No congressional Republicans supported the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the so-called “P5+1” countries, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, UK, Russia, China and France – plus Germany. A handful of Democrats also objected.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said during the weekend that Biden administration officials believe an agreement is near and “we would like all of the parties – including Russia, which has indicated it’s got some concerns – to bring this to close.”…………………………

The 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act gives Congress the right to review an agreement, but lawmakers are unlikely to be able to kill a deal outright after failing to do so in 2015 when Republicans controlled Congress.

Democrats now hold slim majorities in both the House of Representatives and Senate and are unlikely to turn against Biden in sufficient numbers to stop a major initiative like an Iran deal.

Nevertheless, the Republican opposition ensures Congress cannot adopt any nuclear agreement with Iran as a permanent treaty, which requires a two-thirds vote in favour, rendering it vulnerable to abandonment by a future Republican president.

A spokesperson for Iran’s foreign ministry said on Monday that Washington needs to decide to wrap up a deal………   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/14/us-republican-senators-say-they-will-not-back-new-iran-nuclear

March 15, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment