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Ukraine is ground zero for the expansion of the U.S.-Russia proxy war, (and the war industry is jubilant)

This six-week war surely has left the war industry jubilant. In Washington, Biden recently proposed what would be the largest U.S. “defense” budget in history, more than $813 billion.

The U.S. Has Its Own Agenda Against Russia  Ukraine is ground zero for the expansion of the U.S.-Russia proxy war. The Intercept,   Jeremy Scahill, April 2 2022   Ever since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, there has been an unprecedented cohesion of messaging emanating from the U.S. government, its NATO and other European allies, and large segments of the Western media establishment. As massive quantities of weapons pour into Ukraine, there has been consistent media and political agitation for President Joe Biden and other Western leaders to “do more” or answer for why they are not further escalating the situation, including through the imposition of a no-fly zone.

The White House smells Putin’s blood in the waters of his disastrous invasion. The flow of weapons, the sweeping sanctions, and other acts of economic warfare are ultimately aimed not just at defending Ukraine and making the regime pay for the invasion in the immediate present, but also setting in motion its downfall. “For god’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said during his recent visit to Poland. The White House sought to walk back the line and clarify that it did not constitute a change in policy but was merely an expression of the president’s righteous anger. The kerfuffle over what Biden really meant is less important than the very public actions of the U.S. and its allies.

It should not be assumed that the strategies and actions being employed by Washington and its allies in their proxy war against Moscow will always be in the best interest of Ukraine or its people. Likewise, Ukraine’s calls for military support and action from the West — however justifiable and sincere they are — may not be in the best interest of the rest of the world, particularly if they increase the likelihood of nuclear war or World War III. The desire to avoid this scenario by advocating for a negotiated solution to the war that addresses Russia’s stated concerns or its rationale for the invasion is not a capitulation to Putin and it is not appeasement. It is common sense.

While the fate of Ukraine and the lives of its civilian population are evoked in calls for more escalatory action from the West, it is these very people who will suffer and die in large numbers every day the war drags on. Western media coverage is often crafted to portray only one outcome as acceptable: a decisive Ukrainian victory, in which the government of Volodymyr Zelenskyy emerges from the horrors of the Russian invasion in complete control of all of its territory, including Crimea and the Donbas region. Ukraine, as a free and independent state, should be free to join NATO, and Russia has no legitimacy in questioning the implications of such a move. Advocacy for accepting anything short of this outcome is a victory for Russia and therefore traitorous to even consider………………

The routine belligerence exhibited by countless politicians, pundits, and media figures about taking the fight to Putin in Ukraine is largely chickenhawkery. …………

 when you listen to the fine details of Ukraine’s own negotiators and leaders, it’s clear that they understand that the war does not end with the swift annihilation of Putin, the downfall of Russia, or with a clean and complete Ukrainian retention of its territorial sovereignty. That’s why Zelenskyy’s government has acknowledged that the issue of NATO membership, a formalized neutrality status, and an internationally brokered process on the status of Crimea will all be on the table.

There has been much noise about Russia’s recent indications that it was drawing down its military actions in parts of Ukraine, particularly around the capital Kyiv. The U.S. and NATO have acknowledged a partial drawdown but asserted that Russian forces appear to be repositioning, likely for use in the east. Russia has also said as much itself. Moscow’s position is that “the main goals of the first stage of the operation have generally been accomplished.”

There is a peculiar dynamic surrounding the analysis of Putin’s comments on his intentions for Ukraine. He is accused of lying when his remarks undermine the U.S. narrative, but we are told to believe he is absolutely telling the truth when his pugnacious threats bolster the U.S. position.

Whether or not Putin intended to seize all of Ukraine and become an imperial occupier, he did seem to believe his invasion could cause the Ukrainian government to collapse and its leaders to flee in fear. That did not happen. Instead, U.S. and NATO-armed Ukrainian forces outside Kyiv have fought the Russian troops ferociously and inflicted significant losses against them on the battlefield. At the same time, by opening multiple fronts, Moscow forced Ukraine to defend vital territory, including its capital. This strategy exacted a tremendous human toll on the Russian military, but it did take some heat off Russian forces in the Donbas territories in the east, which Putin has cited as his territorial priority in the operation.

But the question of Putin’s original intent — to take Kyiv or to use that threat as a strategy to spread Ukraine’s defenses thin — is now largely irrelevant except in the rhetorical battlespace focused on Russian weakness, incompetence, or failure.

The most contentious issue in the negotiations to end the war will likely have little to do with NATO membership. Zelenskyy has already conceded that to end the war Ukraine will have to drop that ambition and adopt a neutral and nonaligned status, though he does want to continue the pursuit of joining the European Union.  Russia will certainly oppose any attempts for Kyiv to win a backdoor “Article 5” status that could trigger defense of Ukraine by Western powers in cases of future military actions by Moscow. Ukraine has suggested that it would also want China and Turkey to be a part of such a guarantee, not just adversaries of Russia. There are indications that the U.S. doesn’t think the proposal is viable, and Britain’s deputy prime minister bluntly stated, “Ukraine is not a NATO member,” adding, “We’re not going to engage Russia in direct military confrontation.”

Based on the reports out of the recent negotiations in Turkey, it seems that the most incendiary questions will revolve around the breakaway republics in the Donbas region. Ukraine has effectively said it wants a return to the pre-invasion status quo, which would mean erasing the Putin-recognized declarations of independence from Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia, which is currently expanding its control over the Donbas and seizing more territory, is unlikely to agree. This dynamic more than any other could delay or block any meaningful resolution and would be a central focus in a potential summit between Zelenskyy and Putin.

Once there is a brokered agreement, the flow of Western weapons into Ukraine and Russian military support for the separatists will result in a constant state of war footing for many years to come. A cloud portending more fighting and bloodshed will remain hovering over eastern Ukraine. If U.S. and other NATO troops resume their training exercises in Ukraine, as Biden has indicated they should, this means that there will always be a risk of incidents that could quickly escalate.

This six-week war surely has left the war industry jubilant. In Washington, Biden recently proposed what would be the largest U.S. “defense” budget in history, more than $813 billion. Germany and other European countries are publicly committing to buying and selling more weapons and spending more on defense. NATO is raising the prospect of expanding its permanent military presence in Europe and Washington is reasserting its political dominance over Europe on security matters.

But despite the image of global unity of cause being promoted by the U.S. and its NATO allies, several large and powerful nations, including China, India, Indonesia, and NATO member Turkey, are not marching to Washington’s drumbeat — not in the proxy-war business and not in the policy of sanctioning and vilifying Russia.

The overt war in Ukraine will have to end at the negotiating table. But the proxy war is escalating and will have consequences that extend far beyond the current battlefield.  https://theintercept.com/2022/04/01/russia-ukraine-proxy-war-washington-diplomacy/

April 5, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear missiles, bombs market to surge 73% by 2030, report says, industry worried that international treaties ”might hamper growth”


Nuclear missiles, bombs market to surge 73% by 2030, report says  
https://www.reuters.com/world/nuclear-missiles-bombs-market-surge-73-by-2030-report-2022-04-04/April 4 (Reuters) – The global market for nuclear missiles and bombs should surpass $126 billion within ten years, up nearly 73% from 2020 levels, according to a report by Allied Market Research on Monday, as Russian aggression in Ukraine spurs military spending.

The value of the market would jump 72.6% from the Portland-based research firm’s estimate of nearly $73 billion in 2020, when COVID-19 delays and reallocation of funds to support the health crisis “severely affected” the defence sector.

An increase in geopolitical conflicts and bigger military budgets would likely push the figure up at an annual compounded rate of 5.4% until 2030, the report said.

U.S. President Joe Biden last week requested a record peacetime national defence budget, which would prioritise modernizing its nuclear “triad” of ballistic missile submarines, bombers and land-based missiles. read more

The report predicted that demand for small nuclear warheads, which can be easily deployed through aircraft and land-based missiles, would fuel faster growth in these segments, although submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) accounted for a quarter of the market in 2020.

While North America dominated more than half the global market in 2020, the report predicted the fastest growth would come from the Asia-Pacific region on initiatives by India, Pakistan and China to bolster their nuclear arsenals.

“However, international treaties and consortiums discourage nuclear testing,” the firm said in a report summary. “This hampers the market growth.”

It predicted that the rising influence of non-nuclear proliferation treaties and national efforts should increase the number of warheads in storage or awaiting dismantlement.

Active weapons, however, accounted for the “lion’s share” – more than two-thirds – of the market in 2020, it said, due to investment in nuclear arsenals and new warhead purchases.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States at the start of the year issued a joint statement saying there could be no winners in a nuclear war and it must be avoided

April 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ending Ukraine’s suffering. The decision to negotiate this is up to Ukraine, not USA

Putin, The Nuclear Threat, And Ending The War: To Squeeze Or Not To Squeeze? Michael Krepon, Forbes, 4 Apr 22,

To squeeze or not to squeeze. That is the question that tries analytically minded souls…………..

 ………..The majority view among the punditocracy counsels a negotiated settlement. One concern is that if Putin feels cornered, he could do something everyone will regret — like using a nuclear detonation in war. Even if he doesn’t, the longer this war lasts, the more Ukrainian city blocks will be reduced to rubble.  

………….most analysts argue that we ought to give Putin a face-saving exit, which means conceding Ukrainian territory to Russia. How much territory to concede would be a hard issue in any negotiated settlement.

………. the deciding vote on the question of to squeeze or not to squeeze belongs to the government and people of Ukraine. It’s their land, their casualty counts, and their cities. NATO is obliged to take its cues from Volodymyr Zelensky. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelkrepon/2022/04/04/putin-the-nuclear-threat-and-ending-the-war-to-squeeze-or-not-to-squeeze/?sh=51ec25776109

April 5, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Elon Musk joins the frenzy for small nuclear reactors in Wales, despite local opposition to nuclear development.

A company backed by investor in Elon Musk’s businesses is the latest to
say that it wants to build a nuclear power plant in Wales. Last Energy is
now the third company that wants to build nuclear power plants in Wales,
having settled on a not yet named site within the country.

They would join a Rolls-Royce led consortium who have mooted Wylfa on Anglesey and
Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd as the locations of new modular reactors. US nuclear
company Westinghouse have also put together a consortium with construction
group Bechtel to revive plans for two nuclear reactors at Wylfa since
Hitachi, a Japanese conglomerate, abandoned their own plans in 2019.


According to the Sunday Telegraph, Last Energy’s plans are very similar
to those of Rolls-Royce. They want to build a first “mini-nuclear”
power plant in Wales by 2025, as part of a plan to spend £1.4bn on 10
reactors by the end of the decade. Elon Musk, who is the world’s richest
person with assets worth an estimated £220bn, said on Twitter last month
that he was keen on investing in nuclear energy.

More nuclear power at Wylfa is not without its critics with campaign groups CADNO and PAWB among
the local opposition. Writing for Nation.Cymru, Dylan Morgan of PAWB
(People Against Wylfa B) warned that “nuclear power is a dirty, outdated,
dangerous, vastly expensive technology which threatens both human and
environmental health”. “It would also steal much-needed resources from
renewable technologies which are cheaper, much quicker to build and more
effective to combat the effects of climate change.”

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, whose party currently controls Anglesey Council, also spoke out
against nuclear power last week, calling it “the wrong answer” to
Wales’ energy needs. “We do not support nuclear power. It’s the wrong
answer. Renewables absolutely is the way to go. And I fear that, you know,
nuclear power, very expensive and unnecessary distraction,” he said.

April 5, 2022 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

The U.S. Must Take Responsibility for Nuclear Fallout in the Marshall Islands

One conclusion from our work is clear: absent a renewed effort to clean radiation from Bikini, it does not seem likely that people forced from their homes will be able to safely return until the radiation naturally diminishes. This is a process that could take decades if not thousands of years.

The U.S. Must Take Responsibility for Nuclear Fallout in the Marshall Islands, Congress needs to fund independent research on radioactive contamination and how to clean it up   https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-u-s-must-take-responsibility-for-nuclear-fallout-in-the-marshall-islands/, By Hart RapaportIvana Nikolić Hughes on April 4, 2022

In many ways, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has resurfaced our global nuclear history. Fighting continues near nuclear power plants, including Chernobyl, the site of one of the largest nuclear energy accidents in history, invoking fear of their accidental or intentional weaponization. Russia’s placement of its nuclear weapon arsenal on high alert has unearthed anxieties and memories of the Cold War.

As governments across the world consider their own roles in lessening the risk of nuclear war, the United States cannot excuse itself. We can (and should) talk about stemming a future nuclear impact, but equally important is reckoning with our past. Not only is this reckoning a stark reminder of the dangers of nuclear weapons, but it is also a matter of justice.

Between 1946 and 1958, the U.S. nuclear testing program drenched the Marshall Islands with enough nuclear firepower to equal the energy yield of 7,000 Hiroshima bombs. Cancer rates have doubled in some places, displaced people have waited decades to return to their homes, and radiation still plagues the land and waters of this Pacific-island nation.

The U.S. must prioritize the restoration of these islands and the resettlement of its people as a matter of human rights and environmental justice. We are among the few independent researchers who have studied the radiological conditions on these islands. We call on our government to commit to the kind of research program that will help to uncover the full scope of the existing contamination and how best to mitigate it. What the U.S. has done so far is simply not enough, especially as the Marshall Islands are still a close American ally. We owe them that much.

The weapons tests most gravely affected four atolls in the north of the nation: Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik. Testing imposed substantial radiation on these islands, endangering human and other life. In the first two cases, members of the U.S. military resettled communities prior to testing that took place on those atolls, while people on Rongelap and Utirik left after fallout from tests conducted on Bikini, such as the infamous Bravo test, reached them. Today, only Enewetak and Utirik have substantial permanent populations (even while radioactivity remains close at hand for Enewetak residents), while refugees from Bikini and Rongelap, scattered across Majuro, Kili and other islands, in addition to the U.S., have waited for decades to return to their homes.

But the nuclear story of the Marshall Islands is not just one of bygone actions. If the U.S. doesn’t better manage this situation, we could have another radioactive incident on our hands. The structural integrity of the Runit Dome, a concrete shell covering over 100,000 cubic yards of nuclear waste on an island of Enewetak Atoll, is at risk because of rising sea levels. Leakage from the dome—already occurring—is likely to increase and higher tides threaten to break the structure open in the coming decades.

To better understand the effect of nuclear testing on the islands, scientists from the Department of Energy have conducted a wide range of studies, most often on environmental contamination. Members of the military have taken action based on these findings, most notably cleaning up parts of Enewetak Atoll. However, we believe that the DOE’s work has missed critical pieces of the puzzle. For example, its scientists have consistently relied upon simulations rather than direct values of background gamma radiation, the simplest of the measurements one can make. Such a failure has contributed to the mistrust by the Marshallese towards the DOE and its findings, which was borne out of the fact that it was the department’s predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission, that harmed them in the first place.

We are a member (Rapaport) and the director (Nikolić Hughes) of Columbia University’s K=1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies. For several years now, our group has gone to the Marshall Islands to research the fallout of this nuclear testing. We have published our findings to ensure that independent, reliable information exists to advise Marshallese communities and leaders so that they can help chart a path forward.

Considerable contamination remains. On islands such as Bikini, the average background gamma radiation is double the maximum value stipulated by an agreement between the governments of the Marshall Islands and United States. This is even without taking into account other pathways that could lead to radiation exposure for the Marshallese. Moreover, our findings, based on gathered data, run contrary to the DOE’s, which rely on simulations that predict far lower radiation levels.

One conclusion from our work is clear: absent a renewed effort to clean radiation from Bikini, it does not seem likely that people forced from their homes will be able to safely return until the radiation naturally diminishes. This is a process that could take decades if not thousands of years. For Rongelap, further research is needed to understand the large amount of background gamma radiation on one of the northern islands, called Naen, as well as the presence of plutonium isotopes in the soil. Although Rongelap was not used as a testing site, it may be that cleanup efforts will be needed there as well, given its proximity to the detonations.

But, beyond plutonium and uranium, what other radioisotopes are at play here? One is strontium-90, which can cause cancer in bones and bone marrow, as well as leukemia. It has long been a source of health concerns at other sites of nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima. Despite international research interest, U.S. government scientists have largely ignored the effects of strontium-90 in the Marshall Islands. The DOE’s recent report to Congress, for example, mentioned strontium-90 only once. Their recently published data are similarly lacking in an examination of this dangerous nuclear isotope.

In a recent study, we tested sediment from two bomb craters in the northern Marshall Islands, and found consistently high values of strontium-90. Though the presence of this radioisotope in sediment does not neatly translate into contamination in soil or food, the finding does suggest the possibility of danger to ecosystems and people.

The scientific community needs to reexamine the general dismissal of strontium-90, given our findings. More than that, we need a full picture of the extant contamination on these islands, which will require categorical, regularly updated surveys beyond those that have been conducted by the U.S. government. A full understanding of potential dangers to humans, plants and animals would be a first step toward alleviating health impacts and resettling people following appropriate measures.

Unfortunately, a commitment from the United States to both ends of this equation—research and action—does not exist. We call on the federal government to do what it did in the 1970s in Enewetak Atoll. This atoll, home to hundreds of people, was where scientists first tested the hydrogen bomb in 1952. The U.S.-led cleanup was successful; contamination levels in parts of the atoll are now largely below international health guidelines.

Similar success is possible elsewhere in the Marshall Islands. Here’s a playbook for how this could happen. Congress should appropriate funds, and a research agency should initiate a call for proposals to fund independent research (through an agency like the NSF) with three aims:

(1) to further understand the current radiological conditions on Enewetak, Rongelap and elsewhere;

(2) to explore innovations for future cleanup activity on Bikini and possibly elsewhere; researchers and policy makers should look to other nuclear cleanups for methods and technologies that could be employed in the Marshall Islands;

(3) to train Marshallese scientists, such as those working with the nation’s National Nuclear Commission. This point is particularly critical in rebuilding the trust in science and scientists that the U.S. lost in conducting the testing in the first place.

On top of that, we need to modernize cleanup protocols first written in the 1970s to take into consideration the complexity of the radioactive waste involved and the enormous progress in technology developments that has been achieved some 50 years later.  

Wherever nuclear weapons have been used, lives were irrevocably altered. By using the collective work of dozens of researchers, rather than a small group of scientists from the DOE, the world will benefit. Given that other countries engaged in nuclear testing—whether in other Pacific islands or elsewhere—what the U.S. learns about the Marshall Islands can inform remediation efforts the world over. The Marshallese people and other affected communities have been telling us for decades just how dangerous nuclear weapons are. Let’s acknowledge and address their sacrifices and heed their warning before it is too late.

Hart Rapaport is a researcher at Columbia University’s K=1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies.

Ivana Nikolić Hughes is a senior lecturer in chemistry at Columbia University and the director of Frontiers of Science, a required course for Columbia College students. Ivana is also the director of the K=1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies.

April 5, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pundits Who Advocate Hot War With Russia Are Enemies Of Humanity

Caitlin Johnstone 5 Apr 22,

In an appearance on the MSNBC show Velshi, The Modern War Institute’s John Spencer explicitly advocated direct US military conflict with Russia due to allegations of war crimes in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

“I’m ready to commit at this moment — unlike I was before this day — to put people in direct contact with Russia, to stop Russia,” Spencer said. “Call it peacekeeping. Call it what you will. We have to do more than provide weapons. And by ‘we,’ I mean the United States. Yes, we’ll do it as a coalition with lots of other people, but we are the example. So put boots on the ground, send weapons directly at Russia.”

Notice the bizarre verbal gymnastics being used by Spencer to obfuscate the fact that he is advocating a hot war with a nuclear superpower: “put people in direct contact with Russia,” “send weapons directly at Russia”. Who talks like that? He’s calling for the US military to fire upon the Russian military, he’s just saying it really weird.

To be clear this isn’t just some arms industry-funded think tanker saying this; The Modern War Institute is part of the Department of Military Instruction for the United States Military Academy, which is operated directly by the Pentagon

Asked by the show’s host Ali Velshi what he thought of warnings that direct military confrontation with Russia could lead to nuclear war, Spencer said, “It is a huge risk, I understand that. But today is different.

Velshi himself was much more to the point than his guest, both online and on social media……………………

“The turning point for the west and NATO will come when the sun rises over Kyiv on Sunday, and the war crimes against civilian non-combatants becomes visible to all,” Velshi said on Twitter over the weekend. “There is no more time for prevarication. If ‘never again’ means anything, then this is the time to act.”

Asked what specifically he meant by this, Velshi clarified that he was advocating “Direct military involvement.”………………………

he argued that going to war with Russia for Ukraine would not necessarily lead to nuclear war, claiming that “A no fly zone is not so different from the endless supply of weaponry the west is sending in to Ukraine.”

These are not sane or acceptable things for mainstream pundits to be telling people. Directly attacking the Russian military would indeed risk unleashing a chain of rapid escalations that could easily lead to full-scale nuclear war; there would be far too many small, moving parts for this to be anywhere remotely close to predictable or controllable. A no-fly zone over Ukraine would immediately put NATO powers in direct hot war with Russia, which is in fact completely different from shipping weapons to Ukrainian forces.

The fact that a nuclear superpower cannot be regarded in the same way as a nation without nukes has been basic, common sense orthodoxy for all major powers since Stalin got the bomb. This is not some kind of advanced esoteric understanding that you can only grasp if you’ve been studying this stuff for years; as far as I know children are still learning about the history of nuclear weapons and Mutually Assured Destruction in grade school. This isn’t something you should have to explain to grown adults, much less influential mainstream news media pundits.

But it’s becoming more and more common. The line that we’re already in World War 3 and need to begin acting accordingly is showing up more and more often. The idea that NATO powers might be able to get away with attacking the Russian military in Ukraine without sparking a nuclear exchange is fast becoming its own genre of western foreign policy punditry, and that trend looks to accelerate with the latest (arguably pretty dubious) claims of Russian atrocities in this war…………………………………

There’s also the galling White House press conferences in which ambitious reporters aggressively demand to know why the Biden administration isn’t doing more to escalate against Russia, as clear an illustration as you could ask for of the fact that the mainstream press are only allowed to be pushy and confrontational with US government officials when they’re demanding more bloodshed.

As we’ve discussed previously, even if these increasingly loud calls for hot war between nuclear superpowers don’t immediately succeed, what they do is push the Overton window of mainstream discourse all the way over toward the most warmongering extreme possible so that calls for more escalation seem moderate and calls for de-escalation look like extremist apologia for Vladimir Putin. In the very best-case scenario they leave people far more open to consenting to far more nuclear brinkmanship than any thinking person should ever consent to.

This is not okay. It is not okay for them to do this to us. It is not okay for them to normalize the idea of escalations that could easily end humankind. That is the most insane position that any person could possibly take. More insane than Nazism, or any other extremist ideology you could think of. Supporting actions that may lead to human extinction makes these people enemies of our entire species…………. https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/pundits-who-advocate-hot-war-with?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoyNTU2MjE3LCJwb3N0X2lkIjo1MTU3MjA2MywiXyI6IllKbC9qIiwiaWF0IjoxNjQ5MTA1NDE2LCJleHAiOjE2NDkxMDkwMTYsImlzcyI6InB1Yi04MjEyNCIsInN1YiI6InBvc3QtcmVhY3Rpb24ifQ.bmuRTEDt-AbWExPCsWYbp8vbEPSNoa6Jc3OVyw-4qL4&s=r

April 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine planning to resume control of Chernobyl nuclear site, as Russians withdraw

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been notified by Ukraine
that it is examining the possibility to resume regulatory control of the
Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), after the withdrawal of the Russian
military from the site.

Ukraine also informed IAEA that it is also planning
to rotate staff members at the Chornobyl NPP but did not specify any date.
Last week, Ukraine told IAEA: “Russian forces were leaving the Chornobyl
NPP after controlling the site for five weeks.

The withdrawal was confirmed
by senior Russian officials at a meeting with Director General Grossi in
the Russian city of Kaliningrad on Friday morning. “Ukraine later told
the IAEA that while all Russian forces had left the NPP site, the situation
in the Exclusion Zone around the plant was unclear.

 Power Technology 4th April 2022

April 5, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities back international challenge to UK nuclear weapons policies in UN Human Rights Council

Nuclear Free Local Authorities have this week backed a challenge to the British Government’s nuclear weapons policies in the UN Human Rights Council.

The NFLA has joined with international partners in charging that the UK Government’s policy of retaining, and reserving the right to use, a nuclear weapons arsenal is in violation of the Right to Life, a right enshrined in Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the UK is a signatory. The NFLA is a partner member of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

“The destructive power of these weapons is truly frightening, and their primary targets are cities and their civilian populations,” said Councillor David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA Steering Committee. “Any nation contemplating their use must realise that their victims would be millions of innocent men, women and children peacefully going about their daily lives. In no way can the possession or threat of use by any state be compatible with that state’s obligations under international law to maintain the right to life. The UK is such a nuclear weapon armed state and that is why the NFLA is backing this challenge.”

The report has been submitted to the Human Rights Council by the Basel Peace Office, in cooperation with other civil society organisations, as part of the UN periodic review of the obligations of the United Kingdom under international human rights law, including the ICCPR.

Russia has recently made nuclear threats to the USA and NATO if they intervene in the invasion of Ukraine, whilst in the past a British defence secretary threatened a pre-emptive strike on Russia. Such threats highlight the importance of addressing the risks associated with nuclear deterrence policies. Nine states continue to possess nuclear weapons and maintain the option of initiating nuclear war.

“In times of high tensions involving nuclear-armed and/or allied states, plans and preparations for the use of nuclear weapons elevate the risk of nuclear war which would be a humanitarian catastrophe, severely impacting rights of current and future generations,” says Alyn Ware, Director of the Basel Peace Office. “Compliance with the Right to Life with respect to nuclear weapons is therefore an urgent matter, impacting not the rights of all humanity and of future generations.”

The UK deploys about 160 nuclear warheads (40 on each of their 4 strategic nuclear submarines) which are ready to be fired at any time, including, according to a revised government policy, in response to threats from chemical and biological capabilities or emerging technologies that could have a comparable impact.

In 2018 the UN Human Rights Committee affirmed that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is incompatible with the Right to Life, and that signatories to the ICCPR have obligations to refrain from developing, acquiring, stockpiling and using them, and also have obligations to destroy existing stockpiles and pursue negotiations in good faith to achieve global nuclear disarmament.

he submission makes several recommendations to enable the UK Government to comply with its obligation to maintain the Right to Life. These include adopting no-first-use policies, cancelling plans to renew nuclear weapons systems, taking measures to phase out the role of nuclear weapons in their security doctrines and advancing at the 2022 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference a goal for the global elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045, the 75th anniversary of the NPT.

The submission also highlights the connection between nuclear weapons and climate change, with a recommendation to the UK Government to re-allocate nuclear weapons budgets to renewable energy development and climate action financing.

If the UN Human Rights Council decides to pick up on the challenges and recommendations in the submission and direct these to the UK Government, they are required to respond.

To see the submission to the Human Rights Council please go to this link:
http://baselpeaceoffice.org/sites/default/files/imce/HumanRights/submission_to_the_human_rights_council_regarding_uk_nuclear_weapons_policies_and_practices_final_version_with_annex.pdf

April 5, 2022 Posted by | politics international, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Singapore’s nuclear power development is far away, relying on unproven reactor designs

Singapore’s Nuclear Power Potential Depends on Unproven Designs. By Stephen Stapczynski, 4 April 2022  Singapore’s contemplation of a potential nuclear power plant will depend on next-generation technologies, a move that indicates the goal is still decades away from fruition.

The island state says so-called small modular reactors or other next-generation nuclear technology have the potential to be much safer than many of the plants in operation today, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan said in response to questions in parliament on Monday. The country concluded roughly a decade ago that conventional nuclear reactors aren’t suitable ……………….   (subscribers only)   https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-04/singapore-s-nuclear-power-potential-depends-on-unproven-designs?srnd=markets-vp

April 5, 2022 Posted by | ASIA, politics | Leave a comment

UK government’s energy strategy relying on massive nuclear expansion will fail credibility test

The government is expected finally to publish its much-delayed energy
strategy review on Thursday. The review is urgently needed both to address
the soaring energy prices that are inflicting financial hardship on many
households but also to end Britain’s reliance on Russian oil and gas so
as to avoid funding Vladimir Putin’s war machine. The clear test of the
credibility of whatever the government announces must be whether and how
quickly it reduces Britain’s dependence on expensive hydrocarbons for the
bulk of its energy.

The chances of meeting that test look slim, given the
rifts within the government and Conservative Party that have so far held up
the review for more than a month. Bizarrely, Tory MPs have fought furiously
in favour of restarting fracking, which would do nothing to reduce
Britain’s reliance on hydrocarbons, while fiercely resisting any reversal
of the de-facto ban on new onshore wind farms, which would be by far the
quickest and cheapest way to bring new energy on stream.

Both would of course be difficult to deliver since they are beholden to local planning
decisions. But whereas polls indicate that the public is overwhelmingly
opposed to fracking, they reveal strong public support for onshore wind.

Indeed, a YouGov poll last year found that nearly 70 per cent of the public
would support onshore wind farms near where they live. Polls indicate that
support rises higher if it means cheaper energy for residents. A large
expansion of onshore wind ought to be a key feature of a credible strategy,
yet comments yesterday by Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, suggest
that opposition in cabinet rules this out. 

On the other hand, an energy
strategy that rests upon a massively expanded role for nuclear risks
failing the credibility test. That’s not because there isn’t a role for
nuclear as a source of baseload electricity for when solar and wind
supplies are low. There is a strong case for expanding Britain’s nuclear
fleet of 11 reactors, all but one of which are due to be deactivated by
2030, with only one new one, Hinkley Point C, under construction. 

The
problem is the same one that has dogged all recent efforts to expand the
nuclear fleet: vast costs of construction. The energy review needs to
contain realistic plans with deliverable timelines. Boris Johnson’s hopes
of delivering six or seven new nuclear power stations by 2050 look
implausible given that Britain has succeeded in starting construction of
one in the past 16 years and even that is nearly a decade behind schedule
and far over budget.

What’s more, under the government’s preferred funding model, construction costs would be passed on to consumers long before any electricity is delivered, further pushing up energy bills. 

 

The review must therefore include plans to expand other sources of baseload,
including battery storage and carbon capture for gas-fired power stations.

Finally a credible strategy must include plans to reduce energy demand as
well as expand supply. The government needs to turbo-charge the drive to
improve home insulation, the switch to heat-pumps and the optimisation of
the energy network. A smart grid that allows differential pricing and
households to sell electricity from home solar panels and electric car
batteries could dramatically reduce energy supply requirements. Such plans
may lack the glamour of Mr Johnson’s fantasy of a floating wind farm in
the Irish Sea. But they would show that the government is serious.

 Times 4th April 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-times-view-on-britains-energy-strategy-power-play-p8g9hp0qp

April 5, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear safety incidents in UK, as inspection numbers fall

Four nuclear safety incidents reported to ministers in 2021 as inspection
numbers fall. Incidents included a reactor shutdown in Lancashire, a fire
at Sellafield, and a package of radioactive material found in a London
street. Four nuclear safety incidents were reported to UK Government
ministers due to their severity last year, i can reveal, with experts
raising fears over the declining number of inspections.

In the most serious
safety breach, on 22 July, the Heysham One nuclear power station in
Lancashire had a complete loss of 400kV power after a National Grid
transformer failed. Both reactors tripped automatically and were cooled and
safely shut down, according to an Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)
report.

On 11 September, a package of radioactive materials was found in
the street by a member of the public after being lost in transit between
two London hospitals. The ONR said there was no risk to the public or the
environment.

Two incidents at Sellafield in Cumbria also met ministerial
reporting criteria under nuclear safety laws. An analysis of reports from
the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) revealed the four incidents in
2021, which met ministerial reporting criteria under nuclear safety laws.

The overall number of Incident Notification Forms documenting security
issues at UK nuclear facilities was 368 in the first 10 months of last
year. This is 72 per cent higher than the 214 submitted in 2018. However,
the number of nuclear security inspections carried out by the ONR appears
to have fallen. Data shows there were 136 inspections up to 17 December
2021, compared with 169 in 2019. The Heysham One incident, which was stood
down after 16 hours, was rated as level 2 – the third lowest on the
International Nuclear Event Scale, which ranges from zero to seven. The
report said there were “no radiological consequences”.

 iNews 4th April 2022

https://inews.co.uk/news/uk-nuclear-safety-incidents-heysham-sellafield-office-nuclear-regulation-1552075

April 5, 2022 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Kremlin condemns Polish comments on readiness to host nuclear weapons

Kremlin condemns Polish comments on readiness to host nuclear weapons , April 4 (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Monday condemned comments by the leader of Poland’s ruling party, who said Warsaw would be open to having U.S. nuclear weapons on its soil and would welcome a 50% increase in the number of U.S. troops in Europe.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said such a move would only lead to heightened tensions.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who heads the Law and Justice (PiS) party, said at the weekend that Poland would be open to having nuclear weapons stationed on its territory – but that this was not currently under consideration…………https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/kremlin-condemns-polish-comments-readiness-host-nuclear-weapons-2022-04-04/

April 5, 2022 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran blames US for halt to nuclear talks


Iran blames US for halt to nuclear talks,  
The United States is responsible for the pause in talks between Tehran and world powers in Vienna aimed at reviving their 2015 nuclear deal, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson says.

“America is responsible for the halt of these talks … a deal is very much within reach,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told a weekly news conference on Monday…………..https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7686412/iran-blames-us-for-halt-to-nuclear-talks/

April 5, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Why the latest UN climate report is positive news .

Why the latest UN climate report is positive news 

Jacob Greber

While keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees is likely a bust, there is growing confidence among the world’s top climate scientists that holding it to less than 2 degrees is not only achievable but can be done without tanking living standards.

April 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change: Greener lifestyles linked to greater happiness – in both rich and poor countries

Climate change: Greener lifestyles linked to greater happiness – in both rich and poor countries

A wide range of research shows there is a positive relationship between environmentally friendly behaviour and personal wellbeing.

April 5, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment