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Greenpeace activists storm French nuclear plant

Greenpeace activists break into the construction site of the Flamanville
EPR nuclear reactor to protest against pro-nuclear candidates in the French
presidential elections.

Launched at the end of 2007, the Normandy project
is 11 years overdue and its cost has risen to 12.7 billion euros according
to EDF, compared with the 3.3 billion announced in 2006. Greenpeace France
has called for an independent assessment of the viability of EPR nuclear
reactors.

 Euronews 31st March 2022

https://www.euronews.com/2022/03/31/greenpeace-activists-storm-french-nuclear-power-plant

April 2, 2022 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities highlight the threat to Britain’s nuclear reactors, of rising sea levels and coastal erosion

 Talks are to be held next week by Nuclear Free Local Authorities to
highlight threat of rising sea levels and coastal erosion to Britain’s
nuclear plants, including those either side of Felixstowe at Sizewell and
Bradwell.

In March 2011, the Japanese nuclear power plant at Fukushima was
inundated by a tsunami, with flood waters rendering the plant’s cooling
systems inoperative, leading to three nuclear meltdowns, three hydrogen
explosions and a release of radiation from reactors 1, 2, and 3.

The impact is still being felt to this day. Now the Nuclear Free Local Authorities
(NFLA) is holding a special webinar examining the possible impact of rising
sea levels and coastal erosion on Britain’s coastal nuclear facilities.

 Felixstowe Nub News 31st March 2022
https://felixstowe.nub.news/n/felixstowe-flood-threat-to-nuclear-plants-at-sizewell-and-bradwell-to-be-discussed

April 2, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson’s fixation on nuclear power is not justified by the facts, as Britain’s electricity demand continues to fall.

Letter Andrew Warren, Chairman, British Energy Efficiency Federation: In
declaring that Boris Johnson’s fixation on nuclear is a threat to British
energy supply, Simon Nixon (Mar 31) draws attention to the fallacious
belief by the Department for Business (if not at the National Grid) that
demand for electricity is expected to expand enormously, apparently even
double, over future years.

Strangely enough, precisely the same
justification was used in 2006, when the Labour government first committed
itself (as Nixon observes) to a “family” of further nuclear power
stations.

Based on the official forecasts issued in 2006, we should by now
be consuming at least 15 per cent more electricity than we were then. But
we are not. In fact UK electricity consumption has gone down by more than
15 per cent since 2006.

In other words, all that “expectation of demand
growth” used then to justify new nukes was grossly exaggerated, by well
over 30 per cent. In the interim, no new nuclear power stations have been
added to the system. It hasn’t collapsed, and is far less carbon
intensive. Surely, we should not be fooled again by the same spurious
rhetoric about endless consumption growth? In that immortal phrase of the
1970s: “Save it. You know it makes sense.” 

Times 1st April 2022https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/times-letters-lessons-of-the-shropshire-maternity-scandal-7vs5xwfw3

April 2, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

UK government’s nuclear dream likely to fade away, as private investors resist that risky call

 Private investors are yet to be convinced that the returns from nuclear
power are sufficiently attractive to plow billions of pounds into a new
fleet of reactors that is being pushed by the U.K. government.

Unclear policy, competition from renewables and concerns about how attractive the
financial returns will be all make the investment case for nuclear less
compelling, according to people involved in the discussions.

That could be a major stumbling block for the government as it seeks to enlist private
capital to help fund projects like Electricite de France SA’s Sizewell C
plant.

 Financial Post 29th March 2022

https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/johnsons-big-push-on-u-k-nuclear-power-leaves-investors-wary

April 2, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear on the ”frontline of climate change” – and not in a good way!

Paul Dorfman, writing in The Conversation, 1 Apr 22, Not everyone is convinced that nuclear power is a reliable tool in the effort to slow global warming and shore up energy supplies. Paul Dorfman is an honorary senior research associate at UCL’s Energy Institute. He argues that “nuclear energy is, quite literally, on the frontline of climate change – and not in a good way”.

“Nuclear power is often credited with offering energy security in an increasingly turbulent world, but climate change will rewrite these old certainties,” Dorfman says.

“Nuclear power plants must draw from large sources of water to cool their reactors, hence why they’re often built near the sea,” Dorfman highlights. “Two in five nuclear plants operate on the coast and at least 100 have been built just a few metres above sea level.”

In a world made increasingly turbulent by climate change, that’s a problem, Dorfman argues.

“A recent US Army War College report also states that nuclear power facilities are at high risk of temporary or permanent closure due to climate threats – with 60% of US nuclear capacity at risk from future sea-level rise, severe storms, and cooling water shortages.”……………….

April 2, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Scrutiny on Switzerland’s nuclear power industry- it gets uranium from Russia

Use of Russian uranium for Swiss nuclear power under scrutiny,   Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom helps fuel two nuclear power plants in Switzerland. That commercial link is now under scrutiny as the Western world puts financial pressure on Russia to stop its aggression against Ukraine. Swiss Info March 31, 2022 

Swiss electricity company Axpo purchases fuel from Rosatom to operate the Beznau and Leibstadt nuclear power plants in canton Aargau.

In a statement published on Thursday, the environmental NGO Greenpeace urged the authorities of seven Swiss cantons – which own Axpo – to stop buying uranium from Rosatom.

This commercial relationship, the NGO argued, helps to finance Russia’s war effort in Ukraine. Competitor company Alpiq, which runs the Gösgen nuclear site, stopped sourcing from Russia in 2016.

…………………………………..  Of Switzerland’s four nuclear reactors, only Gösgen, operated by the company Alpiq, does not buy Russian uranium. Alpiq said this decision was taken in 2016 due to considerations about environmental compatibility and supply chain transparency………..

By paying for Russian uranium – Switzerland could also indirectly help finance Russia’s military apparatus. SRF points that Rosatom is the manufacturer of Russia’s warheads and now controls the operation of various Ukrainian nuclear power plants, such as at Zaporizhia, seized after fighting on March 4.   https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/use-of-russian-uranium-for-swiss-nuclear-power-under-scrutiny/47479722

April 2, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Switzerland, Uranium | Leave a comment

Australia’s Parliament has little control over military matters, and Prime Ministers kow tow to USA and the White Anglosphere to go to war

Australia is an “active, eager participant in the US-led order” and restricting the Australian parliament’s control over the military has been “… a decision taken by the Australian government — at a bipartisan level — and implemented by senior policy planners.

Meanwhile the Australian parliament has “deliberately restricted its own powers on intelligence matters”

,Australia has ”reaffirmed its whiteness in its commitment to expansion of the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing arrangements between the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and, of course, to the controversial 2021 AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, which was nurtured in great secrecy”

White and might is right: the secrets which push us into other people’s wars,  https://www.michaelwest.com.au/the-dirty-secret-that-pushes-australia-into-other-peoples-wars/ By Zacharias Szumer|April 2, 2022 Is playing deputy to America’s sheriff the reason Australian war powers remain unreformed? It’s clear that our politicians remain muddled on this critical issue, writes Zacharias Szumer.

For decades, minor parties in Australia have introduced bills seeking to give parliament greater control over military deployments. In the debates and inquiries that have followed, a wide range of objections have been raised.

We are told that, as military deployments are often made on the basis of confidential information, this information cannot be publicly disclosed to the parliament. Another common objection is that parliamentary decision-making would reduce the flexibility and speed needed to carry out military operations safely and effectively.

Most of the opposition to war powers reform, received as part of Michael West Media’s ongoing survey of politicians, follows similar lines. You can see myriad responses here.

However, some experts think there might be another reason — one that Australian pollies may be uncomfortable acknowledging.

Kowtowing to empires

Clinton Fernandes, professor of international and political studies at the University of NSW and former Australian army intelligence officer, contends that the bipartisan reluctance to infringe upon this executive prerogative should be understood within Australia’s ”sub-imperial” geopolitical strategy.

In basic terms, Australia has sought to integrate itself into the global strategy of great powers — firstly the British and, from 1942 onwards, the United States. In a 2020 article, Fernandes argues that this sub-imperial strategy has meant the “effective exclusion of the legislative and judicial branches of government from Australia’s national-security policy”.

Fernandes does not believe that Australian politicians and policy officials have been forced against their will into this position. Rather, he argues that Australia is an “active, eager participant in the US-led order” and restricting the Australian parliament’s control over the military has been “… a decision taken by the Australian government — at a bipartisan level — and implemented by senior policy planners.

“Australian strategic planners understand that this means a reduction in sovereignty, but they accept it because it achieves a higher objective — upholding US imperial power.” 

In addition to limiting parliament’s control over military deployments, Fernandes argues that Australia’s position as a “sub-imperial power” also limits parliamentary oversight of intelligence gathering. In the US, “intelligence committees and judiciary committees in the Senate and House of Representatives are regularly briefed about all authorised intelligence-collection programs, and relevant members of Congress receive detailed briefings prior to each re-authorisation,” Fernandes says. 

Five Eyes and whiteness

Meanwhile the Australian parliament has “deliberately restricted its own powers on intelligence matters” through measures such as the  Intelligence Services Act 2001 which ‘prevents the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security from ‘reviewing the intelligence gathering and assessment priorities’ or ‘reviewing particular operations that have been, are being or are proposed to be undertaken’ by ASIS, ASIO and the other intelligence agencies, and likewise ‘the sources of information, other operational assistance or operational methods’ available to the agencies”.

Dr Greg Lockhart, an historian and Vietnam War veteran, supports Fernandes’ argument, but stresses the importance of seeing Australia’s sub-imperial strategy through the lens of a wider “cultural self-deception” around racial anxieties. “Fear of the ‘yellow peril’ meant that our Anzac expeditionary strategic reflex was from its inception race-based,” he says. ‘It was also primarily defensive; it depended on “great and powerful” white friends for protection in our region; it has always depended on being in the Anglosphere”.

Dr Lockhart argues that, although the overtly racist rhetoric of the White Australia policy is largely a thing of the past, “our strategic culture is still inseparable from the Anglosphere, from wherein we have never needed to reassess its whiteness”.

Recently, he says, Australia has ”reaffirmed its whiteness in its commitment to expansion of the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing arrangements between the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and, of course, to the controversial 2021 AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, which was nurtured in great secrecy”.

“And with secrecy comes deception. Sounding like a US proxy in the Pacific while asserting Australian ‘sovereignty’, Scott Morrison’s government “announces it is in ‘lockstep’ with “our allies”, while trumpeting the threat of China’s communism, territorial expansion, abuse of human rights, or its implied role as the origin of Covid 19 — anything but the anxiety about Chinese numbers, ethnic difference, and independent power that has shadowed Australian history since the 1800s – and that now determines the security culture’s mindless dependence on the US.’’   

Seen in this wider cultural context, Lockhart believes that “the Constitution was never going to impose legislative or judicial restraints on the autocratic war powers of the sub-imperial state. Since the First World War in 1914, almost every Anzac expedition has been a British or American imperial one. The exceptions are the Pacific campaign in 1942-1945 and Timor in 1999-2000. And in all those imperial campaigns the decision for war has been made undemocratically by the prime minister acting in secret conclave with only a handful of advisers”.

Parliamentary war powers

Fernandes and Lockhart aren’t alone in suggesting that there’s a relationship between strategic objectives and parliamentary control, or lack thereof, over the military. In their encyclopaedic 2010 study of war powers around the world, scholars Wolfgang Wagner, Dirk Peters and Cosima Glahn noted that several Central and Eastern European states — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia — abolished parliamentary approval for war in the process of joining the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

The authors argue that ‘’NATO accession apparently amplified the trade-off between creating legitimacy through procedures of ex ante parliamentary control and gaining efficiency through lean, executive-centred decision-making. From NATO’s perspective, having the governments of some member state tied by domestic parliamentary veto power must seem highly unattractive.’’

However, many of the more powerful NATO countries have far more wide-ranging parliamentary war powers than Australia or the aforementioned junior NATO partners. Although contested, the US War Powers Resolution significantly limits the President’s freedom to order military action without congressional authorisation.

For almost two decades in Germany, all major military deployments have been put to parliament for a vote. In the UK too, a parliamentary convention of seeking approval for military deployments in the House of Commons has also evolved over the past two decades.

April 2, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Coastal communities across the world already feeling the impacts of climate change.

Coastal communities across the world are already feeling the disastrous
impacts of climate change through variations in extreme sea levels. These
variations reflect the combined effect of sea-level rise and changes in
storm surge activity.

Understanding the relative importance of these two
factors in altering the likelihood of extreme events is crucial to the
success of coastal adaptation measures. Existing analyses of tide gauge
records agree that sea-level rise has been a considerable driver of trends
in sea-level extremes since at least 1960.

However, the contribution from
changes in storminess remains unclear, owing to the difficulty of inferring
this contribution from sparse data and the consequent inconclusive results
that have accumulated in the literature. Here we analyse tide gauge
observations using spatial Bayesian methods to show that, contrary to
current thought, trends in surge extremes and sea-level rise both made
comparable contributions to the overall change in extreme sea levels in
Europe since 1960.

We determine that the trend pattern of surge extremes
reflects the contributions from a dominant north–south dipole associated
with internal climate variability and a single-sign positive pattern
related to anthropogenic forcing. Our results demonstrate that both
external and internal influences can considerably affect the likelihood of
surge extremes over periods as long as 60 years, suggesting that the
current coastal planning practice of assuming stationary surge extremes
might be inadequate.

 Nature 30th March 2022

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04426-5

April 2, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Hotter Antarctic summers posing increasing threat to stability of world’s largest ice sheet

Hotter Antarctic summers posing increasing threat to stability of
world’s largest ice sheet, satellite observations show. The East
Antarctic ice sheet is the biggest land-based piece of frozen water on the
planet. It holds about 80 per cent of all ice in the world, stretching up
to 4,800 metres in thickness in some places, and containing enough water to
raise global sea levels by 52 metres. Humans are generally keen for it to
stay in place. But new research shows that warmer summers due to the
worsening climate crisis are seriously threatening the floating ice shelves
which fringe the ice sheet, helping hold it in place.

 Independent 31st March 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/antarctic-heat-ice-sheet-threat-b2048301.html

April 2, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

April 1 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion:  ¶ “The World Is Stuck Between Gas Prices And Climate Change” • The West needs more oil now. The world needs to get off oil and gas ASAP. It is an epic quandary of the oil addiction that runs the world economy. President Joe Biden announced a plan he said would address all of […]

April 1 Energy News — geoharvey

April 2, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment