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Today. Silver lining? War is SO good for shareholders in the nuclear weapons industry

It is SO good . Banks, superannuation funds, savvy financial advisors – why, the’re all putting YOUR money to good use – investing in weapons of all kinds, but especially nuclear!

In the (possibly very ) short run, ya just can’t go wrong. The government payments (using YOUR tax money) are a sure thing for all of them, whether naughty Eastern state-owned corporations, or virtuous Western corporations. What a steady, secure investment !

In the long run, it’s only the kids that mightn’t do so well out of it. But anyway, they don’t matter, do they?

April 4, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Another worrying week in nuclear news

Some bits of good news:Photos show increasing numbers of rare one-horned rhinos in Indian national parkBritain’s butterflies bolstered by conservation efforts.     Indigenous rangers program doubles with $636 million boost .   Back from the brink: Tiny bush carnivore gets a new lease on life.       Ancient rock art site returned to Aboriginal owners — and they’re keen to share it, on their own terms

On the nuclear and military scene –   what a mess !  Yes, the Russian invasion is illegal and wrong. And yes, atrocities are being committed, and the Ukrainian people are suffering terribly.  But, I hope that people are becoming aware of the very carefully managed anglophone media coverage, which is emphasising human emotional stories, while not really covering the progress of the war, nor the USA resistance to peace talks..  No other invasion, such as those in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, has been media-manipulated in this way.

Meanwhile – inexplicably, Western governments are pushing for new nuclear reactors at the very time when Ukraine is demonstrating how terribly dangerous they are!

Julian Assange’s family tirelessly advocate for his freedom.

The information war that precedes and complements kinetic war — Anti-bellum .     Ukraine: Transfer of Power Balance from West to East.

. Chernobyl: radiation sickness in soldiers, theft of radioactive materials, wildfires – a frightening case of the multiple dangers of nuclear powerUkraine Negotiations: No Fly Zone, Nukes, Neutrality, and Disarmament. Chris Hedges On Ukraine, Russia & NATO Urgent need to bring about new arms control agreementshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I6ZkPi6NSI

Depicting Putin as ‘Madman’ Eliminates Need for Diplomacy.      What is the current nuclear arms pact between Russia and the US?           The Red Scare, Viewpoint by Alice Slater.          Frenzy for selling bunkers, but they might not be much use, really.     How would a nuclear winter impact food production?

 Coastal communities across the world already feeling the impacts of climate change.    Climate crisis worsened by population and economic growth.  Nuclear on the ”frontline of climate change” – and not in a good way!

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

ANTARCTICAScientists caught off guard by massive ice shelf collapse in ‘coldest, driest’ part of Antarctica Hotter Antarctic summers posing increasing threat to stability of world’s largest ice sheet.

UKRAINE. Media coverage of the nuclear dangers in Ukraine often poorly informed and downplayed due to the influence of the pro nuclear lobby.       Ukraine, Poland discuss NATO “peacekeeping” force in Ukraine — Anti-bellum.    Russian troops pull out out of Chernobyl after suffering ”acute radiation sickness”.     Wide reporting on Russian soldiers affected by radiation, leaving Chernobyl.     Anxieties at Varash nuclear power station, and other ones in Ukraine – ”town smells of fear.”.

 Nuclear catastrophe threatened, as fires sweep through forests towards Chernobyl site.   7 wildfires in Chernobyl Exclusion zone exceed Ukraine’s emergency classification tenfold.        Head of IAEA to visit Chernobyl, as Russians withdraw from the site. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense warns on radioactivity danger from the Chernobyl Excusion Zone.    UN nuclear watchdog chief in Ukraine for safety talks. U.S. ambassador incites Georgians to confront Russia — Anti-bellum.

Zelensky: Russia will be driven out of Caucasus, Transnistria, Crimea, all post-Soviet space — Anti-bellum

JAPANConstruction projects surge at Fukushima nuclear plant despite decommissioning progress.

UK. 

USA

EUROPE. European Union lawmakers move to reject inclusion of nuclear energy as ‘green‘. NATO . concludes 30-nation strike force exercise in Norway — Anti-bellum . Growing resistance to EU proposal to label gas and nuclear as ”sustainable” energy .

FRANCE. Greenpeace activists storm French nuclear plant. Macron rubbing hands with glee as UK energy crisis means EDF poised for ‘£30bn payday‘. France pays the steep cost of inflexible and ageing nuclear as electricity prices soar.

NORWAY. Norway: NATO continues largest drills since Cold War off Russia’s coast — Anti-bellum

AFRICA. African nations condemn Ukraine’s recruiting mercenaries for “international legion” — Anti-bellum

GEORGIA. U.S. ambassador incites Georgians to confront Russia — Anti-bellum

ISRAELEU advisers urge full NATO membership for Israel — Anti-bellum


SWITZERLAND
. . Scrutiny on Switzerland’s nuclear power industry- it gets uranium from Russia. Switzerland’s nuclear-war-readiness – bunkers for all.

CHINAChina call USA the ”Leading Instigator” of the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

NORTH KOREA. North Korea says Seoul ‘crazy’ to talk of preemptive strike on ‘nuclear power’ .

PORTUGAL. Portugal to speed up switch to renewable power in wake of Ukraine war .

AUSTRALIA. Australia’s Parliament has little control over military matters, and Prime Ministers kow tow to USA and the White Anglosphere to go to war.  Weapons corporations infiltrate our schools and charities, promoting war-mongering to our youth.    NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner Australia to deliver armored vehicles to Ukraine — Anti-bellum.

April 4, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

France pays the steep cost of inflexible and ageing nuclear as electricity prices soar

French baseload and peak prices soar due to a combination of massive outages of French nuclear power plants, cold weather and inefficient heating

France pays the steep cost of inflexible and ageing nuclear as electricity prices soar — RenewEconomy 3 Apr 22,

The common refrain among critics of wind and solar is to blame their “variability” or “intermittency” for soaring electricity prices as Europe wrestles with gas shortages worsened by the war in Ukraine. But France, the nuclear “pin-up” country for the anti-renewables brigade, is not faring so well either.

Over the weekend, the key “day ahead” prices of electricity in France surged to unprecedented levels. On Friday, the futures price for “baseload” for wholesale French electricity price hit the eye-watering level of €714 a megawatt hour ($A1050/MWh).

It didn’t get much better by Sunday, when the day-ahead price for Monday settled at €515/MWh ($A758/MWh), which is the predicted average price over a 24-hour period. The price for peak electricity between 8am and 9am was €2,987/MWh ($A4,400/MWh).

The prices for both baseload and peak prices in the rest of the European market were significantly cheaper, and in Germany it was dramatically so.

The main reasons? Both supply and demand. Less than half (30GW) of France’s 64GW of nuclear capacity was available, thanks to planned and unplanned outages, and extended repairs due to corrosion issues in their ageing plants.

The forecast is for cold weather, and many French homes are fired with inefficient, energy hungry electric resistance heating, largely as a result that the French believed they had no reason to be energy efficient because of the their massive investment in nuclear.

“Massive outages of French nuclear power plants, in combination with cold weather and electric (often resistance) heating, are causing a critical situation for electricity supply there tomorrow,” energy analyst Kewes van der Leun tweeted over the weekend.

The French authority called on consumers to reduce their power consumption.

The situation in Europe is similar to the growing “north-side” divide in electricity prices in Australia, identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which has noted that since early 2021 average prices in the most heavily coal dependent states of Queensland and NSW are considering higher than elsewhere.

Partly that is due to a lack of transmission (France has similar problems), but also to the inflexibility of baseload, and the desperation of baseload owners to bid up prices when they can to recoup their costs.

Sure, states with high amounts of renewables do experience price spikes, but they tend to be short lived and the average price is significantly lower than so-called “cheap” coal.

The situation in France is not likely to get better any time soon. President Emmanuel Macron has pledge to invest significantly more in nuclear and his far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen (who is given an outside chance of unseating him) has pledge to stop all new wind and solar development.

But new nuclear won’t help. At the very best, a new reactor could be online by 2035, although France’s recent experience with massive cost over-runs and delays would put a major question mark over that being achieved.  

French baseload and peak prices soar due to a combination of massive outages of French nuclear power plants, cold weather and inefficient heating

France pays the steep cost of inflexible and ageing nuclear as electricity prices soar — RenewEconomy

The common refrain among critics of wind and solar is to blame their “variability” or “intermittency” for soaring electricity prices as Europe wrestles with gas shortages worsened by the war in Ukraine. But France, the nuclear “pin-up” country for the anti-renewables brigade, is not faring so well either.

Over the weekend, the key “day ahead” prices of electricity in France surged to unprecedented levels. On Friday, the futures price for “baseload” for wholesale French electricity price hit the eye-watering level of €714 a megawatt hour ($A1050/MWh).

It didn’t get much better by Sunday, when the day-ahead price for Monday settled at €515/MWh ($A758/MWh), which is the predicted average price over a 24-hour period. The price for peak electricity between 8am and 9am was €2,987/MWh ($A4,400/MWh).

The prices for both baseload and peak prices in the rest of the European market were significantly cheaper, and in Germany it was dramatically so.

The main reasons? Both supply and demand. Less than half (30GW) of France’s 64GW of nuclear capacity was available, thanks to planned and unplanned outages, and extended repairs due to corrosion issues in their ageing plants.

The forecast is for cold weather, and many French homes are fired with inefficient, energy hungry electric resistance heating, largely as a result that the French believed they had no reason to be energy efficient because of the their massive investment in nuclear.

“Massive outages of French nuclear power plants, in combination with cold weather and electric (often resistance) heating, are causing a critical situation for electricity supply there tomorrow,” energy analyst Kewes van der Leun tweeted over the weekend.

The French authority called on consumers to reduce their power consumption.

The situation in Europe is similar to the growing “north-side” divide in electricity prices in Australia, identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which has noted that since early 2021 average prices in the most heavily coal dependent states of Queensland and NSW are considering higher than elsewhere.

Partly that is due to a lack of transmission (France has similar problems), but also to the inflexibility of baseload, and the desperation of baseload owners to bid up prices when they can to recoup their costs.

Sure, states with high amounts of renewables do experience price spikes, but they tend to be short lived and the average price is significantly lower than so-called “cheap” coal.

The situation in France is not likely to get better any time soon. President Emmanuel Macron has pledge to invest significantly more in nuclear and his far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen (who is given an outside chance of unseating him) has pledge to stop all new wind and solar development.

But new nuclear won’t help. At the very best, a new reactor could be online by 2035, although France’s recent experience with massive cost over-runs and delays would put a major question mark over that being achieved.  

April 4, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | 3 Comments

Portugal to speed up switch to renewable power in wake of Ukraine war 

https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/portugal-speed-up-switch-renewable-power-wake-ukraine-war-2022-04-01/?fbclid= By Sergio Goncalves

LISBON, April 1 (Reuters) – Portugal aims to accelerate its energy transition and increase the proportion of renewable sources by 20 percentage points to 80% of its electricity output by 2026, four years earlier than previously planned, the government said on Friday.

As part of a global shift away from carbon-emitting fossil fuels, countries are betting on renewable energies such as wind and solar, a transition that is being accelerated in Europe after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The new Socialist government that was sworn in on Wednesday, said in its overall programme released on Friday that the energy plans should mobilize more than 25 billion euros of investment in the next 10 years, involving public and private players, incentives and financing.

“Portugal has already taken very significant measures in the energy transition, but the evolution and duration of the war in Ukraine must necessarily imply new measures,” Cabinet Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva told a news conference.

The country, committed to become carbon neutral by 2050, currently gets 60% of its electricity from renewable sources – one of the largest proportions of green energy use in Europe.

Unlike central European countries, Portugal does not depend on Russian natural gas pipelines, as it mainly imports liquefied natural gas from Nigeria and the United States, and has not imported Russian crude since 2020.

The government also wants to “more than double the installed capacity of renewable sources in the next decade”.

Portugal, which closed its two coal-fired power plants last year, has 7.3 GW of hydroelectric capacity and 5.6 GW of onshore wind parks, which together represent 83% of its total installed capacity.   Reporting by Sergio Goncalves Editing by Andrei Khalip and Frances Kerry

April 4, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

Construction projects surge at Fukushima nuclear plant despite decommissioning progress

Construction projects surge at Fukushima nuclear plant despite decommissioning progress

April 4, 2022 Mainichi Japan   OKUMA, Fukushima — The site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station continues to host new construction projects some 11 years after the disaster triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunamis.

This Mainichi Shimbun reporter had the opportunity to visit the plant for the first time in seven and a half years, and reflect on why new facilities continue to appear even as the plant moves toward decommissioning…………..

While decommissioning seems to be advancing, various facilities have been newly constructed, and the issue of water remains. A rising number of tanks store treated water contaminated after it was pumped to cool fuel debris that melted down in the accident, as well as groundwater and rainwater that flowed into the buildings. Inside the tanks, the contaminated water is made to reach a radioactive concentration below regulation levels.

On the seventh floor of a building located near the site’s entrance, a Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) representative gave me an outline of the entire facility. I could see two large cranes on the ocean side around Units 1 to 4, and another large crane and framework structure on the mountain side. When I asked about it, the representative told me the frame was being assembled in a remote location to reduce worker radiation exposure. But it wasn’t a facility being dismantled; it’s a cover measuring 66 meters long, 56 meters wide, and 68 meters high that will wrap around Unit 1.

The hydrogen explosion in Unit 1 blew the building’s roof off, and 392 pieces of nuclear fuel remain in its spent fuel pool near the ceiling. Their removal is scheduled to start in fiscal 2027 to 2028. For this to happen, the surrounding debris must be removed, and the cover’s installation will help prevent the work dispersing radioactive dust.

Ground improvements works were progressing on the neighboring Unit 2’s south side. There, a working platform to remove 615 pieces of nuclear fuel from Unit 2 will be built, with its start slated for fiscal 2024 to 2026.

The buildings for Units 1 through 4 were damaged and contaminated, so different structures, such as platforms and covers, had to be built to remove nuclear fuel from the pools. Particularly conspicuous was the thick steel frame of the Unit 4 facility, from which fuel was completely removed in 2014. Although 53 meters high, it surprisingly uses about the same amount of steel as the 333-meter-high Tokyo Tower. Since the nuclear fuel is being removed in order, new construction work continues in reactor buildings’ vicinities………………

The company listed at least 10 facilities earmarked for future construction. Put another way, the tanks need to be removed to provide land for these facilities.

Related construction work had already started at the seashore, where workers dug vertical holes to contain treated water before its release. After the implementation plan’s approval, undersea tunnel construction and other necessary work to release the water 1 km offshore will also begin.

Meanwhile, some broken cranes and damaged buildings have been left on site without being dismantled. The representative told the Mainichi Shimbun this was partly due to them trying to keep the solid waste processing volume low.

Also underway is construction of facilities to handle ever-increasing solid waste amounts. The representative said a white building I spotted in the site’s northwest side was the volume reduction facility, and that building work is going ahead for a solid waste storage facility in front of it.

The volume reduction facility scheduled for completion in March 2023 will use crushing and other methods to reduce concrete and metal debris volumes. Although nine storage buildings already exist, a 10th will soon be constructed. Nearby was also a new incineration facility for burning logged trees. TEPCO estimates solid waste generated will reach a volume of 794,000 cubic meters by March 2033, and that there will continue to be more related facilities.

Fuel debris removal will begin at the end of 2022. In the future, facilities to hold fuel debris and to store and reduce volumes of solid waste with high doses of radiation generated by the work will also be needed.

Each year creates new tasks that generate more waste, and the facilities to accommodate it. These buildings are also destined to eventually become solid waste. While this cycle continues, a final disposal method for the waste is undetermined. The government’s and TEPCO’s timetable says 20 to 30 years of plant decommissioning remain. But on site, where new construction projects continue to appear, a clear picture of when decommissioning will finish has yet to emerge.

(Japanese original by Takuya Yoshida, Science & Environment News Department)   https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220402/p2a/00m/0na/027000c

April 4, 2022 Posted by | decommission reactor, Fukushima continuing, safety | Leave a comment

Why UK Labour’s green policies are fatally undermined by its ‘nuclear first’ stance

Actually, Labour are worse than the Tories

Dave Toke’s green energy blog,   https://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.com/2022/04/why-labours-green-policies-are-fatally.html

 It is now clear from Labour’s stance in the House of Commons, that nuclear power comes before every thing else. Indeed, aside from Keir Starmer’s emphasis on ‘nuclear first’ attacks on the Government in the House of Commons, Labour’s allegedly massive green energy spending strategy seems likely to be swallowed up almost entirely by its pledge to rush to embrace the Sizewell C development. 

The Treasury knows full well that to get Sizewell C going reasonably quickly the Government will have to commit to a potential bill of £30 billion or more in public spending. This must come, either or both, from hard-pressed energy consumers by adding to their bills, or directly from Treasury coffers. The Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) spending plans are closely controlled by the Treasury, and the commitment to Sizewell C will swamp the budget and reduce Labour’s ability to spend on things like insulation and heat pumps to a trickle.

Keir Starmer thinks he has seen a weak point in the Conservative’s energy strategy in that it is finding it difficult to turn the commitment to support Sizewell C into reality. But that’s because funding Sizewell out of a public commitment is likely to present the Government with a crippling financial burden. It is especially crippling because Starmer will refuse to acknowledge the fact that to get Sizewell C going will require the Government to fund a black hole of spending as cost overruns inevitably escalate on the project. 

It’s a cynical ploy on Labour’s part. They know full well that the Government’s difficulties with launching Sizewell C are to do with the sheer financial unviability of new nuclear power, not from any lack of faith in nuclear power on the part of the Government. But apparently, Starmer does not care about this, and it also seems that he takes the green energy lobby for granted in that he expects that it will support him regardless.

But if other Labour commitments to support really big programmes in areas like heat pumps and insulation are to happen, there’s just not enough money going to be made available for them if BEIS’s budgets are swallowed up by the commitment to support Sizewell C.

So how should green energy supporters react to this? Well, there’s plenty of other parties to vote for. Indeed if this Government does actually go ahead and reverse the English planning ban on onshore wind, there’s probably not going to be much difference, in practice, between Labour and Conservatives on energy. Except of course that the Conservative will be more cautious, it seems, on accepting unmanageable commitments to new nuclear power!

April 4, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

How corporate media has put the American public in a state of Ukraine-Russia psychosis

when it comes to reporting, the legacy news media privileges profit over veracity. Indeed, much of the legacy media’s revenue and many of its guests originate from the defense industry, which benefits financially when Americans are supportive of war.

For example, in March of 2022, the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson critiqued Russia on NBC’s Meet the Press, but the host, Chuck Todd, neglected to mention that Johnson sits on the board of global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin. This is a clear conflict of interest that audiences should be made aware of when they consider Johnson’s analysis.

How Corporate Media Has Put the American Public in a State of Ukraine-Russia Psychosis, Pressenza, 02.04.22 – US, United States – Independent Media Institute   There is a growing psychosis sweeping the U.S. around the Russian bombardment of Ukraine, and it is being triggered by the legacy news media. The steady stream of biased, often erroneous or incomplete information spewing from the establishment press is leading people to quickly choose sides in a complicated international conflictwaving flags in support of “their side,” fawning over global leaders, and even holding peaceful car parades in efforts to do what they think they can to prevent World War III. In the process, the context and details of the conflict, as well as its historic roots, are being pushed aside in favor of a kind of binary knee-jerk activism that is far too common in American political culture. Speaking out against Russian attacks on Ukraine and in support of the people there should not be difficult to understand or do. However, demanding that the U.S. take aggressive action, such as swiftly implementing a no-fly zone, displays a waning level of sophistication regarding international relations.

By Nolan Higdon      This is psychosis. According to WebMD, “[p]sychosis is a condition that affects the way your brain processes information. It causes you to lose touch with reality. You might see, hear, or believe things that aren’t real.… It can be triggered by… extreme stress or trauma.” Much of Americans’ recent stress about Russia-Ukraine germinated from legacy news media reporting. War coverage is good for news media profits. When it appeals to nationalism and villainizes international players, it excites and engagesaudiences. As a result, the jingoistic legacy news media often parrot the military-industrial complex, nudging voters into a national psychosis over foreign affairs. As the Intercept documented in mid-March 2022, rather than investigating pathways to peace or procedures for de-escalating the events in Ukraine, legacy news media reporters bombarded the White House with questions aimed at goading the nation into war……………………

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal and inexcusable invasion of Ukraine has provided a lucrative opportunity for the legacy news media to reignite and amplify more anti-Russian blather. None of this is to say that Russia or Putin should be defended in the press. Rather, American citizens, like any citizens in a supposed democracy, need context to understand global affairs, and the press is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution for the purpose of providing that context.

However, when it comes to reporting, the legacy news media privileges profit over veracity. Indeed, much of the legacy media’s revenue and many of its guests originate from the defense industry, which benefits financially when Americans are supportive of war. For example, in March of 2022, the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson critiqued Russia on NBC’s Meet the Press, but the host, Chuck Todd, neglected to mention that Johnson sits on the board of global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin. This is a clear conflict of interest that audiences should be made aware of when they consider Johnson’s analysis.

The privileging of pro-war messages comes at the expense of useful reporting. As a result, American audiences remain largely uninformed about key issues regarding international affairs. ………………..

The corporate news media outlets provide almost no historical context for the events taking place in Ukraine, such as the peace process laid out in the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements, the 2014 U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine, or the U.S. reneging on its promise—which was supported by Great Britain and France—to not expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into Eastern Europe that eventually influenced Putin’s recent foreign policy decisions.

Instead, news media outlets rely on inaccurate historical narratives such as claiming that Putin wants to reestablish the Soviet Union, when in fact he blames the shift to communism for the decline of Russia. Furthermore, the legacy news media have set up a binary narrative of good versus evil—Russia versus Ukraine—which provides no nuance to this complex situation. It is possible to oppose the leadership and behavior of both Russia and Ukraine: The former is an opponent of civil rights and democracy with imperialist ambitions, and the latter is ruled by a government that came to power not through democratic means, but by a U.S.-backed coup that worked in tandem with known neo-Nazis, who are still part of the military there. This brand of reporting does not position people to understand the impact that policy proposals will have on their material conditions, let alone foreign affairs.

There was a similar disconnection from reality in the months prior to the United States’ 2003 invasion of Iraq. Otherwise rational people were endorsing severe actions such as invading and occupying a nation because it allegedly possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and that their leader was a madman, like Hitler, who needed to be stopped. The WMDs turned out to be fake news propagated by the U.S. government under Republican President George W. Bush, and endorsed by members of the Democratic Party such as then-Senators Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. For their part, the corporate news media endorsed the invasion and perpetuated the fake news that legitimized it. Most politicians in the two corporate-backed political parties endorsed it as well.

Meanwhile, the very same people who lied to the public and got them to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq are now “informing” the public about Ukraine and Russia…………..

A democratic foreign policy requires measured responses and strategic decisions, especially when the potential for nuclear war remains very real. However, thanks to the failures of the press, the American public is poorly positioned to shape those decisions. Instead, they are bombarded with propaganda in the form of trivial talking points masquerading as journalism. If you want to stop World War III, rather than cutting out Moscow mules, remove legacy news media from your diet, and expand your news menu with broader, more independent and diverse perspectives and information. Our collective future depends upon it.   https://www.pressenza.com/2022/04/how-corporate-media-has-put-the-american-public-in-a-state-of-ukraine-russia-psychosis/

April 4, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Macron rubbing hands with glee as UK energy crisis means EDF poised for ‘£30bn payday’

Macron rubbing hands with glee as UK energy crisis means EDF poised ‘£30bn payday’. EMMANUEL MACRON could win big from the UK energy crisis, with EDF being tipped to secure contracts worth nearly £30 billion.

Dr Paul Dorfman, an associate fellow at the University of Sussex said: “The UK has a very strong relationship with EDF, they own and run the substance of UK reactors and are helping to build Hinckley point and the rest of it.

“However, EDF are in debt. Moodys, the financial organisation has recently downgraded EDF’s credit rating. A quarter of all of France’s reactors are currently offline due to safety and security problems, that’s
largely because they have an ageing nuclear fleet, like us.

“In order to kind of try to prolong their lifespan, the French government has big upgrade of their nuclear. “The cost estimates are around £70-80 billion just to upgrade, just to keep them tottering on.”

EDF is currently constructing the Hinckley Point C nuclear power station and is also adding new reactors to Sizewell C in Suffolk and Bradwell B in Essex. Dr Dorfman has warned that these new reactors constructed by EDF are the same type of EPR reactors that were built in France, which the French court of Auditors estimated cost an extra €19billion (almost £16 billion). He continued: “EDF is clear about the need for Government investment in order to proceed with Sizewell C.”

 Express 1st April 2022

https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1589803/emmanuel-macron-uk-energy-crisis-edf-boost-nuclear-power

April 4, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics international | Leave a comment

Ukraine: Transfer of Power Balance from West to East

Ukraine: Transfer of Power Balance from West to East, Consortium News, March 31, 2022 

Own goal: Cameron Leckie says the Western response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is rapidly accelerating what had been a more drawn-out process.  By Cameron Leckie By Cameron Leckie
Pearls and Irritations   Most of the debate and coverage of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war in Australia and the Western world is decidedly banal. It is characterized by the simplification of an extremely complex situation to generate a narrative that can be summarized as Putin and Russia are evil and Ukraine is good.

This gross simplification is not helpful in either understanding the causes of the war, the nature of the war, its broader implications and most importantly of all, how it can be ended with the least number of additional deaths and injuries and damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure

The preponderance of human-interest reporting of the conflict in lieu of coverage of the war itself is illustrative. The heartbreaking examples of families torn asunder along with the brave exploits of Ukrainian soldiers or allegations of war crimes by Russia, whilst important, tends to trigger an emotional response rather than provide an accurate depiction of the course of events.

Partly this is because very few mainstream Western reporters, if any, appear to be located where the bulk of the fighting is, namely in the Donbass and around Mariupol. The resulting vacuum is filled by claims, many unverified and unverifiable, from the Ukrainian side, the aforementioned human-interest stories or the impact of missile strikes in and around the major cities. Truth has long been described as the first casualty of war. It would be unwise to think that this conflict is an exception. We should thus take a healthy dose of skepticism about the media reporting and analysis of the war — from all sides.

A narrative that seems to be gaining traction is that the Russian forces have culminated and Ukraine may actually be winning. This narrative could well be wishful thinking, influenced by the desire for Russia to lose, the overwhelming pro-Ukrainian bias of reporting and analysis and a misunderstanding of Russia’s aims and strategy…………………

Approximately 60,000 of Ukraine’s best trained and equipped troops are located in the Donbass. It would appear unlikely that this force is capable of anything other than localized tactical level manoeuvre at this point due to a combination of ever dwindling supplies of ammunition, fuel and rations, Russia’s dominance in the air and ground based combat power, and the effects of combat to date.

A narrative that seems to be gaining traction is that the Russian forces have culminated and Ukraine may actually be winning. This narrative could well be wishful thinking, influenced by the desire for Russia to lose, the overwhelming pro-Ukrainian bias of reporting and analysis and a misunderstanding of Russia’s aims and strategy…………………

Approximately 60,000 of Ukraine’s best trained and equipped troops are located in the Donbass. It would appear unlikely that this force is capable of anything other than localized tactical level manoeuvre at this point due to a combination of ever dwindling supplies of ammunition, fuel and rations, Russia’s dominance in the air and ground based combat power, and the effects of combat to date.

The direct Russo-Ukraine conflict is however just one level of this conflict. Ukraine is actually an unfortunate pawn in the much bigger conflict. As long time Russia analyst Gilbert Doctorow notes this is a

“full-blown proxy war between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, and it is about ending or perpetuating American global hegemony.”

Whilst the war in Ukraine will end sooner or later, the implications at a global scale of this proxy war will be of much greater consequence for a much greater period of time.

The Western response to Russia’s invasion has been to substantially increase its military aid to Ukraine (which is unlikely to change the outcome of the war) and implement economic (and cultural) sanctions of an unprecedented scale and nature on Russia.

This approach is unlikely to work for multiple reasons, the primary one being as I stated in my last article that there “are no sanctions that the U.S. or Europe can implement that will not have a greater impact upon those countries than on Russia or create further divisions among the Western powers.”

Whilst the sanctions will have a disruptive and negative effect on the Russian economy, they will not be devastating for the simple fact that Russia is too important to the global economy. The initial shock of the sanctions did not cause a collapse of the Russian financial system, nor did it result in a bank run. The ruble has already regained some of its value versus the U.S. dollar and Russia has (for now) made bond repayments.

Russia is far from being isolated. Whilst a majority of countries voted against Russia at the United Nations General Assembly, of more importance is the countries that are not sanctioning Russia. Outside of the West virtually no country is sanctioning Russia, including the world’s two most populous, China and India with the world’s second and sixth largest economies.

Russia has many willing buyers for its energy, mineral and agricultural produce. Countries not on Russia’s “unfriendly country list” will receive preferential deals for exports as already evidenced by the rupee-ruble oil mechanism with India and a natural gas and grain deal with Pakistan.

The impact of Western businesses withdrawing from Russia, whilst causing short-to-medium term disruptions, will in the longer term be managed through an expansion of Russia’s import-substitution policies and sourcing goods from other countries.


There are already reports that the sale of Chinese mobile phones in Russia have more than doubled whilst the Chinese financial company UnionPay is replacing VISA and Mastercard. The effect of the sanctions policy may very well be the permanent gifting of a market of 140 million people to Chinese and Indian businesses……………………

De-dollarization 

The sanctions, including the unprecedented freezing of a central banks assets, are also undermining trust in the Western financial system. The trend towards de-dollarization will rapidly accelerate from here on as countries seek to minimize the risk of trading with the U.S. dollar…………..

It seems clear that the Western powers have overestimated the impact that the sanctions would have on Russia, had not fully thought through the implications, were unprepared for the consequences and have no feasible way of reversing their actions. Meanwhile the majority of the world’s countries will continue to trade and maintain their relationship with Russia for the simple reason that it is in their interests to do so…………..

There is a good chance that 2022 will in hindsight be viewed as the decisive tipping point. Unfortunately, the penny has not yet dropped with Western governments and their compliant media of what their actions have triggered. Enlightened self-interest suggests that a major change in direction is required in the West, Australia included, to make the best of a bad situation.  https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/31/ukraine-transfer-of-power-balance-from-west-to-east/

April 4, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear is not the key to energy independence

Nuclear is not ‘key to energy independence’, https://www.centralmaine.com/2022/04/03/nuclear-is-not-key-to-energy-independence/ Jim Perkins  The headline on the opinion piece by conservative activist Jim Fossel (March 20) extolled nuclear power as “key to energy independence.” In his text, Fossel dealt only with rosy promises that go back to the days of Walt Disney’s “Our Friend the Atom.”

Fossel did not mention any of the challenges nuclear power faces: not the environmental concerns, not the economic realities, not safety experience highlighted in this country by one stuck valve rendering a brand-new billion-dollar plant in Pennsylvania a smoldering heap nor major catastrophes in Ukraine and Japan. He did not address short and long-lived contamination by nuclear wastes, from mining, then milling, through to the unresolved issues of site contamination and eventual (maybe) ultimate disposal of high-level “spent” fuel.

He didn’t address nuclear proliferation concerns: see North Korea, Israel, South Africa and Iran for examples of blurring the civilian/military distinction.

He brought up support by governments of the world for some renewable energy projects, but ignored totally the government roles underpinning every nuclear program in the world.

Centrally, Fossel was holding out “energy independence” as a goal for all. A Google search might have shown him where he could find the world’s large reserves and significant production of uranium. As with petroleum, the U.S. has some of its own, but leading the pack are these five: Kazakhstan; France (with production operations in Canada, Africa, the U.S. and Kazakhstan); a nominally “Canadian” company called Uranium One which is owned and controlled by Rosatom, the Russian state corporation; China; and Uzbekistan.

Trading dependence on one unstable and dangerous resource for another is hardly progress. A conservative perspective should make that obvious.

April 4, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, USA | Leave a comment

To wean UK off Russian gas – the key is energy efficiency + wind projects – not nuclear power, says new research.

 Fixing energy-leaking homes and funding wind projects – not nuclear power stations – is key to weaning the UK off Russian gas, a new studysays, amid cabinet clashes over policy.

Boris Johnson is pushing to get 25 per cent of the UK’s electricity from nuclear power – requiring up to
six new power stations – at a cost that is alarming Rishi Sunak, the
chancellor.

Meanwhile, cabinet rows over relaxing planning rules to lift
the block on onshore wind turbines are also holding up a new energy
strategy, prompted by the Ukraine crisis. Now an analysis by the climate
change think tank E3G says a strategy that “starts at home” is the
route to reducing reliance on Vladimir Putin’s gas supplies.

Dramatically improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s buildings “could secure an
80 per cent cut in the amount of gas we import from Russia this year”, it
is arguing. If combined with government funding for solar and onshore wind
projects already in the planning pipeline, “the UK could cut the amount
of gas we get from Russia by 100 per cent within a year”.

“Energy security starts at home,” said Ed Matthew, E3G’s campaigns director,
ahead of the expected release of the “energy independence plan” this
week. “By ramping up the energy efficiency of UK buildings and
accelerating renewables deployment, the government can take an axe to UK
gas demand.

 Independent 3rd April 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/energy-russia-gas-wind-turbines-b2049677.html

April 4, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

USA cancels ICBM missile test due to Russia nuclear tensions

By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali, WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) , 3 Apr 22, – The U.S. military has canceled a test of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile that it had initially aimed only to delay in a bid to lower nuclear tensions with Russia during the war in Ukraine, the Air Force told Reuters on Friday.

The Pentagon first announced a delay of the test on March 2 after Russia said it was putting its nuclear forces on high alert. Washington said at the time it was important both the United States and Russia “bear in mind the risk of miscalculation and take steps to reduce those risks.”………….. https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/exclusive-us-cancels-icbm-test-due-russia-nuclear-tensions-2022-04-01/

April 4, 2022 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Red Scare, Viewpoint by Alice Slater

The writer serves on the Boards of World Beyond War, the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. She is also the UN NGO representative for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

NEW YORK (IDN) 4 Apr 22, ”……………………………………………………………….–    [in 1989]  The painful, searing vision of the cemetery of mass, unmarked graves in Leningrad haunts me still. Hitler’s siege of Leningrad resulted in nearly one million Russian deaths. On every street corner it seemed, memorial statutes paid tribute to some part of the 27 million Russian who died in the Nazi onslaught. So many men over sixty. who I passed in the streets of Moscow and Leningrad, had their chests bedecked with military medals from what Russians called the Great War. What a beating they took from the Nazis—and how prominent a part it still plays in their culture today as the tragic Ukrainian chaos unfolds.

At one point, my guide asked, “Why don’t you Americans trust us?” “Why don’t we trust you?”  I exclaimed, “What about Hungary?  What about Czechoslovakia?” He looked at me with a pained expression, “But we had to protect our borders from Germany!” I looked into his watery blue eyes and heard the fervent sincerity in his voice. At that moment, I felt betrayed by my government and the years of constant fearmongering about the communist threat. The Russians were in a defensive posture as they built their military might. They used Eastern Europe as a buffer against any repetition of the ravages of war they had experienced at the hands of Germany.  Even Napoleon had invaded straight through to Moscow in the previous century!

It’s clear that we’re creating bad will and hatred again with the unseemly expansion of NATO, despite Regan’s promises to Gorbachev that it wouldn’t expand “one inch to the east” of Germany, while keeping nuclear weapons in five NATO countries, placing missiles in Romania and Poland, and playing war games, including nuclear war games, on Russia’s borders. Small wonder that our refusal to deny NATO membership to Ukraine has been met by the current awful violent onslaught and invasion by Russia. 

It is never mentioned in the unrelenting media assault on Putin and Russia that at one point, Putin, despairing of ever being able to halt the eastward expansion of NATO, asked Clinton if Russia could join NATO. But he was rejected as were other Russian proposals to the US to negotiate for the elimination of nuclear weapons in return for giving up missile emplacements in Romania, to return to the ABM Treaty and the INF Treaty, to ban cyberwar, and to negotiate a treaty to ban weapons in space.

In a Matt Wuerker cartoon Uncle Sam is on a psychiatrist’s couch fearfully clutching a missile saying, “I don’t understand—I have 1800 nuclear missiles, 283 battleships, 940 planes. I spend more on my military than the next 12 nations combined. Why do I feel so insecure!”  The psychiatrist answers: “It’s simple. You have a military-industrial complex!” 

What’s the solution?  The world should issue a call for sanity!! 

Call for a Global Peace Moratoriun

CALL FOR A GLOBAL CEASEFIRE AND A MORATORIUM on any new weapons production—not one more bullet– including and especially nuclear weapons, let them rust in peace! ………….    https://www.indepthnews.net/index.php/opinion/5193-the-red-scare

April 4, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Switzerland’s nuclear-war-readiness – bunkers for all


Nuclear bunkers for all: Switzerland is ready as international tensions mount , euronews, By Charlotte Lam  & AFP   03/04/2022
   Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reawakened interest in Switzerland’s concrete nuclear fallout shelters, built during the Cold War with enough space to shelter everyone in the country


Nuclear bunkers for all: Switzerland is ready as international tensions mount , euronews, By Charlotte Lam  & AFP   03/04/2022
   Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reawakened interest in Switzerland’s concrete nuclear fallout shelters, built during the Cold War with enough space to shelter everyone in the country.

Since the 1960s, every Swiss municipality has had to build nuclear bunkers for their residents – and they’re mandatory in large homes and residential buildings.

“I think this shelter system makes sense,” says Marie-Claude Noth-Ecoeur, who heads civil and military security services in the mountainous southern Wallis region.

“We remember the problems that occurred at Fukushima because there was a time when the Federal Chambers wanted to remove shelters but then Fukushima happened. We realise that there are nuclear power plants in Switzerland and in Europe. So yes, this is useful, it was designed for that and I think we must keep them, at least with what is happening in the world, we must keep them in a state of readiness.”

The shelters have become an integral part of the Swiss identity, on par with the country’s famous chocolate, banks and watches…………

The wealthy Alpine country has pledged that each and every resident will have a shelter space if needed. The country of 8.6 million people counts nearly nine million spaces across 365,000 private and public shelters.

But while there are more than enough spots at a national level, there are vast regional differences. Geneva is worst off, with only enough places for 75 per cent of its population.

Nicola Squillaci, head of Geneva’s civil protection and military affairs division, said the shelters were conceived to provide protection “, especially in the case of a bombing and a nuclear attack”…………..

Switzerland’s vast network of nuclear bunkers have a range of other day-to-day uses, including as military barracks or as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers.

But Swiss authorities require that they can be emptied and reverted back to nuclear shelters within five days. https://www.euronews.com/2022/04/03/nuclear-bunkers-for-all-switzerland-is-ready-as-international-tensions-mount

April 4, 2022 Posted by | safety, Switzerland, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Two sailors reportedly injured in accident on docked nuclear submarine

Two sailors reportedly injured in accident on docked nuclear submarine, New York Post,   https://nypost.com/2022/04/03/two-sailors-injured-during-test-on-docked-nuclear-submarine/ By Sam Raskin, April 3, 2022

Two Navy sailors were injured Saturday during a “routine” test on a nuclear submarine docked in a naval shipyard in Washington State, according to reports.

The USS Louisiana ballistic missile submarine “experienced a problem in the forward crew access compartment while conducting a routine compartment air test,” a rep for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility told CNN.

“The boat’s nuclear propulsion space was not affected,” said the spokesperson, Anna Taylor.

The malfunction caused a loud sound, a dislodged scaffolding enclosure and “other equipment,” Taylor told The Kitsap Sun.

Residents heard loud explosions about 12 p.m. Saturday in the area, the outlet reported.

The two sailors reportedly suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a medical facility. Their exact condition is not known.

Five other sailors were evaluated by Navy medical personnel but they did not need treatment, according to the spokesperson. The test at the 560-foot USS Louisiana — located in Bremerton on Washingtons’ Kitsap Peninsula since 1997 — was suspended after the incident.   

April 4, 2022 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment