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FAST TRACK TO ARMAGEDDON — Declassified Australia

Despite Australia’s headlong rush to splash cash on new advanced military weapons, there is some confusion apparent within the highest levels of the Defence Department as to the real strategic effect of the development and use of hypersonic missiles. 

The use of hypersonic missiles trashes conventional reluctance to be the first to start a war as it removes the perceived threat of retaliation.

Hypersonic missiles will allow for a pre-emptive war if the nation possessing them thinks an enemy state is moving towards conflict. The Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, window for avoiding war is slamming shut.

Australia’s hypersonic missile development, rather than promoting peace in the region, is helping ignite an arms race and increasing the chance of conflict. Hypersonic missiles being developed in Australia are aircraft-launched highly-maneuverable high-speed precision cruise missiles, capable of delivering a conventional, and potentially a nuclear payload. PETER CRONAU, 8 APRIL 2022   Australia is already a long way down the track in developing nuclear-capable hypersonic weapons with the US and UK, despite a new announcement this week by the Australia-UK-USA ‘AUKUS’ military pact.

FAST TRACK TO ARMAGEDDON — Declassified Australia

AUKUS member nations this week, in an update to their much-reported pact of 2021, announced $1-billion for guided missile development in Australia, and stated: ‘We…committed today to commence new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics’.

Last November Declassified Australia first reported on the work being done with the US and UK on the development of hypersonic missiles in Australia for the Australian Defence Force, in a story on the expanding military and intelligence links between the AUKUS trio of nations. 

Some of the largest arms manufacturers in the world have been working in Australia in developing hypersonic missile prototypes under the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment, or SCIFiRE.

The SCIFiRE project was signed in 2020 by world’s largest weapons-maker and manufacturer of the RAAF’s F-35, Lockheed Martin, along with Boeing Defence Systems, manufacturer of the RAAF’s F/A-18 Hornets. These private companies reap the benefits of the publicly-funded HIFiRE scramjet engine technology of 2007 designed by a team at the University of Queensland.

The SCIFiRE hypersonic missile is a high-speed highly-maneuverable plane-launched precision cruise missile that gives a fighter or bomber aircraft a virtually unstoppable anti-shipping capability from over 400 km distance – and much further when used from planes launched off carriers or airbases. They could be nuclear-capable, but at present will be conventionally armed.

The hypersonic missile is light and fast, and will seriously outperform the Tomahawk cruise missiles already on order for the RAAF. The SCIFiRE doesn’t need a bomber to launch and will be carried by RAAF fighter aircraft such as the F/A-18F Super Hornet jetfighter, the new F-35A Lightning II air-combat stealth fighter, as well as the P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft. They will be perfect for supporting a US war in the South China Sea.

The US has been testing its domestically-produced HARC hypersonic ramjet weapons and, though troubled by a string of failures, has reportedly tested the Lockheed Martin prototype last month. The new Australian SCIFiRE hypersonic missiles offers better prospects for delivery and are expected to enter service in 5-8 years, ready to join in the plunge over the precipice of a predicted 2030 US war with China

Not to be outdone, Britain’s BAE Systems since 2021 has been developing in Australia a hypersonic weapons system titled Project Javelin. The project involves a hypersonic long-range attack missile named ‘Javelin Strike’, and also, sensibly, defensive counter-measures to protect against high speed weapons named ‘Javelin Shield’. The project is running in parallel with the SCIFiRE missile, in developing a so-called ‘sovereign capability’ for the construction of the weapons in Australia.

Of even greater concern internationally is the potential development of nuclear-armed drone satellites, able to fire multitudes of hypersonic nuclear missiles upon any part of the globe. The US has for a decade been working on a highly secret X-37B Boeing space drone project capable of carrying satellites, as well as nuclear payloads. Now Boeing is presently building the Phantom Express, a hypersonic Experimental Spaceplane XS-1, able to carry payloads with ‘military and commercial applications’.

Such madness may not be too remote from Australia. A Brisbane-based aerospace engineering start-up company Hypersonix Launch Systems, working with the public-funded University of Southern Queensland, has last month received federal government funds for development of its DART CMP Airframe, the world’s first ‘reusable’ hypersonic drone. 

Hypersonix is building the airframe of the hypersonic drone, capable of speeds up to 15,000 km/hr, supported by US companies Boeing, and Kratos Defence Security Solutions, which are both separately developing hypersonic drones with military applications.

‘New age’ hypersonic missiles and drones are not the only airborne weapons cooperation occurring between nations of the AUKUS pact. RAAF’s Woomera Test Range in South Australia has been the site of BAE Systems long-delayed development work on its Taranis supersonic stealth bomber drone.

The Defence Department is very serious about arming Australia with hypersonic missiles. In 2020 Defence allocated $9.3-billion for high-speed long-range strike and missile defence including for hypersonic development, test and evaluation. This is part of the eye-watering $270-billion spend on defence capability over the decade under the Force Structure Plan 2020, a part of Australia’s legitimate defence needs, as well as support to military actions of the US empire.

The use of two hypersonic missiles by Russia against Ukraine military targets in March seemed to take the US by surprise. The US Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, publicly downplayed the development, saying he did ‘not see it as a gamechanger.’ 

But have no doubt, the sphincters of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and European military leaders tightened several notches as they realised the Russians had just used in battle a missile for which they have no present defence. Instantly, US military bases, like those in Germany or the NSA satellite surveillance post at Menwith Hill in the UK, were undefendable.

The Russian Kinzal ‘Dagger’ hypersonic air-to-surface missile reportedly has a range of 2,000 kms and can reach speeds of 12,000 km/hr. The missiles were fired from Mig-31 fighters outside of Ukraine airspace hitting one target in the far west of Ukraine near the border with Poland, a NATO member. As well as destroying the Ukraine military arms depot and fuel storage, the ‘Dagger’ missiles also destroyed the West’s sense of invulnerability.

Russian President Putin said development of the hypersonic missiles was permitted following the US decision in 2002 to abandon the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a bilateral agreement between the Soviet Union and US. China also has developed hypersonic weapons after first testing its Wu-14 missile in 2014.

The need for international controls and a return to adherence to the abandoned mutual containment system by all countries has suddenly become very apparent.

Despite Australia’s headlong rush to splash cash on new advanced military weapons, there is some confusion apparent within the highest levels of the Defence Department as to the real strategic effect of the development and use of hypersonic missiles. 

statement by the Australian Defence Minister at the time, Linda Reynolds, when speaking about hypersonic weapons for Australia illustrates the confusion: ‘Investing in capabilities that deter actions against Australia also benefits our region, our allies and our security partners.’

The utilisation of hypersonic missile technology has been described as ‘disruptive capability’ – and disruptive it surely is. Far short of ‘deterring’ other nations, as the minister suggests, hypersonic weapons may increase uncertainty and hence the likelihood of conflict. They are already contributing to a regional arms race with Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, USA and China all presently expanding missile development.

The use of hypersonic missiles trashes conventional reluctance to be the first to start a war as it removes the perceived threat of retaliation. Hypersonic missiles which can travel as fast as eight-times the speed of sound, greatly reduce the chance of the targeted nation retaliating, as the warning time reduces dramatically. The first warning now might be the sounds of missile explosions. 

At present an uneasy peace between nuclear nations exists, with the belief an enemy would not start a war due to the likely retaliation that would follow any first attack launch. The hypersonic capability allows nations to launch with a much reduced fear of interception or retaliation.

Hypersonic missiles will allow for a pre-emptive war if the nation possessing them thinks an enemy state is moving towards conflict. The Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, window for avoiding war is slamming shut.

“We remain committed to peace and stability in the region,’ said the Defence Minister. These words indicate a view far from a reality of the increased risk of hypersonic-propelled destructive conflict and a newly-energised regional arms race. 

PETER CRONAU is co-founder of DECLASSIFIED AUSTRALIA, and is a multi-award winning investigative journalist, writer, and film-maker. He is co-editor of the recent book A Secret Australia – Revealed by the WikiLeaks Exposés

April 9, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. nuclear electricity generation continues to decline as more reactors retire

U.S. nuclear electricity generation continues to decline as more reactors retire, U.S.Energy Information Asministration  Principal contributor: Mark Morey, 8 Apr 22,
   In 2021, for the second consecutive year, U.S. nuclear electricity generation declined. Output from U.S. nuclear power plants totaled 778 million megawatthours in 2021, or 1.5% less than the previous year. Nuclear’s share of U.S. electricity generation across all sectors in 2021 was similar to its average share in the previous decade: 19%.

Six nuclear generating units with a total capacity of 4,736 megawatts (MW) have retired since the end of 2017. Three more reactors with a combined 3,009 MW of capacity are scheduled to retire in the coming years: Michigan’s Palisades is scheduled to retire later this year, and California’s Diablo Canyon is slated to retire one generating unit in 2024 and one in 2025. We compile announced retirement dates and new plants’ intended online dates in our Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory.

……………………………………. Financial pressures from competitive wholesale power markets remain the primary cause of nuclear power plant retirements. Four units at two sites in Illinois had announced their intention to retire but then reversed that decision after the Illinois state legislature provided financial incentives to support the nuclear units’ continued operation

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was enacted in November 2021, includes the allocation of $6 billion to prevent the premature retirement of existing nuclear power plants. The funding will be made available to nuclear power plants that might otherwise retire and that are certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as safe to continue operations.,………..

April 9, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry is giving high-risk small modular reactors the hard sell

Nuclear industry is giving high-risk small modular reactors the hard sell, Gordon Murray, 8 Apr 22,
ABBI Garton-Crosbie’s article (Scottish Government not consulted on Boris Johnson’s energy plan, Apr 7) highlights the differences in energy policy between Westminster and Holyrood and in particular the proposed adoption of small modular reactors (SMRs).

Together with match-funding, more than £450 million has been earmarked for new nuclear also includes SMRs. The UK Government also wants to build more large nuclear plants such as Sizewell C, and to this end it announced funding of £1.7 billion in the October budget of 2021.

The SMR programme promises lower energy production costs but there is no hard evidence to support this claim, as the economics of such light-water reactors (by definition less than 300MW) have not been proven. We are told incessantly that each SMR is more affordable than their larger brothers of GW scale. At less than one tenth of the output of Hinkley Point C, who could have supposed otherwise!

The nuclear industry has a long track record of extravagant claims in this regard, reflected in long delays, enormous budget overruns and ultimately, the all-important strike price (the guaranteed price received by the generator).

The UK SMR reactor is first-of-a-kind, ergo, small size does not equate to small strike price.

The National Nuclear Laboratory has speculated an SMR strike price that might exceed £80/MWh. This value mirrors cost modelling that shows SMRs are not significantly cheaper in terms of capital cost per power output generated than current gigawatt-scale reactors. To put this into perspective, this is twice the price of electricity generated by offshore wind and around three times that of onshore wind and solar. As with Hinkley, nuclear subsidies will be necessary to sustain this price in addition to the subsidies that will be necessary due to the price caps on decommissioning and management of nuclear waste costs.

The government hopes that the smaller capital costs of an SMR compared to GW scale reactors will attract more investors and obviate the need for public subsidies in the form of the regulated asset base (RAB) model of funding for Sizewell C. There is, however, no guarantee of success. The smart money is with renewables, where the returns are higher with smaller risks. Still, it very possible that RAB or a variant thereof – son of RAB – could be used to subsidise, if not fully, the construction costs, overruns and cancellations. We, the taxpayer, bear the risks.

Economies of scale are of paramount importance in making the economic case for SMRs. This means large numbers of these power plants spread all over the country, resulting in heightened safety concerns over the increased proliferation of nuclear materials and terrorist attack that can involve drones.

It is also being proposed that SMRs be used to decarbonise domestic and industrial heating systems. This means locating them close to population centres. Expect local bribes, er, incentives.

Claims that we will be cuddling up to our local SMR before this decade is out are also misplaced. The regulatory process has hardly begun: site licensing, generic design assessment, supply chain engagement, front-end engineering development, manufacture, installation and commissioning. The window of time to mitigate catastrophic climate change is now very small.

Diverting hundreds of millions of pounds in SMR development costs away from tried and tested low-carbon generators that can be brought on-line in a fraction of the time and at much lower cost to the consumer is not the correct course of action.

The problem with long-term waste disposal will also be exacerbated. At present it is stored at nuclear power stations and at Sellafield, whose management costs at present are £2bn annually and increasing.

Beware. The hard sell is under way. Tin hats on, dear citizens.

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK’s new energy strategy will accelerate the development of nuclear power generation despite Treasury opposition

 As expected, the Strategy will detail plans to accelerate the development of nuclear power
generation. It will target 24GW of installed capacity by 2050, meaning that
nuclear will provide 25% of the UK’s electricity demands by mid-century.

The Government has stated that it will support the delivery of up to eight
large plants this decade, including Wylfa, Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.
It will also support small modular reactors (SMRs). It has been reported
that Johnson has pushed hard for these targets on nuclear, despite
opposition from the Treasury.

Edie 6th April 2022

April 9, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear costs will swamp UK Labour’s green energy plans

Dave Toke: It is now clear from Labour’s stance in the House of Commons,
that nuclear power comes before everything 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 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.

 Chartist 6th April 2022

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) to protest against plan for nuclear reactor on Anglesey island

 An anti-nuclear campaign group are to protest outside the office of Ynys
Môn’s MPs over plans to build a new nuclear power plant on the island.

The UK Government this morning confirmed its intention to push ahead with a
nuclear project at the Wylfa site on the island of Anglesey. People Against
Wylfa B (PAWB) said that the UK’s energy needs could be met with
renewable energy and that ministerial claims that nuclear was necessary to
support weather-dependent renewables was “simply not true”.

Ynys Môn’s MP who has described herself as an ‘Atomic Kitten’ has been a
persistent advocate of a new nuclear plant on Anglesey.

A spokesperson for PAWB, Neil Crumpton, however said that the Prime Minister should not be
“gung ho” about nuclear power. “It is a complex and radio-toxic
technology,” he said. “The UK should be showing the world how wind and
solar energy, when backed-up by hydrogen-fired power stations, would
provide reliable electricity to consumers no matter what the weather or
season. Nuclear baseload is not needed.

 Nation Cymru 7th April 2022

April 9, 2022 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Sweden | Leave a comment

Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear corporation, exports nuclear fuel to Finland and others – has not been sanctioned by USA and Europe

Rosatom, which is the world’s biggest exporter of nuclear reactors and maintains a near-monopoly over the fuel they use to generate electricity, hasn’t been sanctioned by the U.S. and Europe. 

it’ll be “three to four years” before Russian fuel currently being used in Finland needs to be swapped out in full for new assemblies.

Europe’s other energy problem: relying on Russian nuclear fuel Bloomberg News | April 7, 2022  A day before Russia invaded Ukraine, it sent four highly-trained armed guards across the border on a special mission to deliver fuel to an aging nuclear power facility.

Reactors based on Soviet designs generate power across the former Cold War bloc, accounting for more than half of all electricity in Ukraine and around two-fifths in a swath of territory arching from Finland to Bulgaria. So the fuel shipment was routine enough — until President Vladimir Putin ordered his army to war. 

Russia and Ukraine agree the small security detachment arrived by train on Feb. 23 and was present as technicians unloaded a new batch of fuel rods at the Rivne Nuclear Power Plant 340 kilometers (210 miles) west of Kyiv. They differ wildly over what happened to the so-called Atomspetstrans guards as fighting began. 

Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency last week that they were disarmed and subsequently refused to return home. The Kremlin accused Kyiv of taking the four employees of state-owned Rosatom hostage. The IAEA is assessing the situation as it prepares to return monitors to Ukraine. 

The incident was just one nuclear flashpoint of a war that’s being fought amid a fleet of operating reactors as well as the entombed site of the world’s worst atomic accident at Chernobyl. 

But it also highlights another looming energy challenge for leaders on Moscow’s European periphery even as the continent moves to bar more Russian fossil fuels: how to cut their reliance on nuclear trade with a heavily-sanctioned Russia that many in the region want to further isolate.

“Countries are taking it a lot more seriously because of the situation,” top U.S. nuclear official Bonnie Jenkins said in an interview last month. “They are aware of their dependence.”

Rosatom, which is the world’s biggest exporter of nuclear reactors and maintains a near-monopoly over the fuel they use to generate electricity, hasn’t been sanctioned by the U.S. and Europe. 

Non-proliferation experts have warned that doing so could boomerang back by coaxing more countries to enter fuel markets. U.S. officials said last month sanctions would have to be carefully calibrated to avoid damaging allied economies, as well as other U.S. diplomatic efforts, like the nuclear negotiations with Iran. Those talks foresee continued supply of fuel to the Persian Gulf country’s Russia-built reactor. 

For Moscow, atomic exports remain a key geopolitical lever, and it’s using state financing to expand Rosatom’s reach with new units in China, India, Iran and Turkey, none of which have enforced war-penalties so far imposed on Russia. 

Nuclear fuel differs from commodities like gas or coal because it requires precision-engineered assemblies that conform to licensing requirements set by safety regulators. Trying to cut ties prematurely with Russia could imperil electricity supplies for almost 100 million Europeans in countries that rely on nuclear plants as their biggest source of clean energy.

Jenkins, 61, the U.S. State Department’s under-secretary for arms control and international security, cautioned the switch could take years.

Still, said Liisa Heikinheimo, deputy director general for energy at Finland’s Economy Ministry, “it’s a fact that an alternative supplier is needed. It’s about to be a problem that’s soon reality.”

Finland, where Fortum Oyj operates two Soviet-built VVER reactors 90 kilometers east of Helsinki, has tried to find alternatives to Russia. It contracted British Nuclear Fuel Ltd., now owned by Westinghouse Electric Co., in the 1990s but ultimately stuck with Rosatom’s competitive prices.

More recently, the U.S. Department of Energy and Ukraine worked with Westinghouse to dislodge Rosatom fuel from 15 operating reactors, which still supply more than half the country’s electricity after six weeks of war wrought billions of dollars in damages to infrastructure. 

Fuel made by Westinghouse, owned by private-equity investors at Brookfield Business Partners LP, now generates power at six Ukrainian units, with engineers needing until mid-decade to supply the rest. 

“Westinghouse started in Ukraine because of the government-to-government agreement with the U.S.,” said Jose Emeterio Gutierrez, the Spanish nuclear engineer who formerly led the company’s decade-long effort to compete with Rosatom. But nuclear-fuel market peculiarities, along with a Soviet technological legacy, makes diversification difficult, he said. 

Few nations possess the vast infrastructure needed to convert and enrich uranium ore into metal, which then has to be engineered into ceramic pellets and inserted into zirconium fuel rods with a safety tolerance measured in millimeters. A catalog of international regulations ensures that material isn’t diverted for weapons.

Rising demand for stable energy supplies, along with the European Union’s green label on nuclear power, could help to speed up the process. 

Slovakia, with four Russian-built units, pitched a fuel consortium last month to share costs. The U.S. is also involved, pledging last week to help the Czech Republic diversify fuel for its six Russian-designed reactors. 

But moving away from Rosatom will require time, said Heikinheimo, who figures it’ll be “three to four years” before Russian fuel currently being used in Finland needs to be swapped out in full for new assemblies.

(By Jonathan Tirone, Kati Pohjanpalo and Jesper Starn, with assistance from Thomas Hall)

April 9, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

 World leaders must look to peaceful solutions, not more weapons

Nuclear powers are on a deadly path to more conflict, Frank Jackson
Former co-chair, World Disarmament Campaign
8 Apr 22

Frank Jackson says world leaders must look to peaceful solutions, not more weapon,   Truly, the human race has a death wish. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock has been set at 100 seconds to midnight – the latest it has ever been – for the past two years. Yet even more expenditure is planned on the means of death and destruction (Aukus pact extended to development of hypersonic weapons, 5 April).

In January, the five primary nuclear weapon powers, the US, Russia, France, China and the UK, made a joint statement, echoing the original declaration by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1985, that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”. Just months later, the response to the carnage in Ukraine, and the threat to use nuclear weapons, is not to draw back from the precipice, but to accelerate the drive to the cliff edge.When are the (mis)leaders of the world going to recognise that the only answer to the many existential threats that face us is cooperation at all levels to find peaceful solutions to potential, and actual, conflicts?

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear bunkers are not what they used to be, with earth-penetrating weapons on the rise

Chinese tests show nuclear bunkers are not what they used to be, with earth-penetrating weapons on the rise, Stephen Chen in Beijing, SCMP , 8 Apr 22,

Current engineering standards ‘severely underestimated the actual impact’ of a nuclear blast targeting underground defence facilities, according to paperMajor nuclear powers have a growing interest in small-yield bunker busters because they produce little or no radioactive fallout to pollute the landscape.

.……. In the past, shelters buried several hundred metres deep were rated nuclear-proof but the Chinese test facility shows that a tunnel more than 2km (1.24 miles) under the surface could be destroyed, according to the researchers.In one test, the simulated tunnel almost crumbled after taking hits the effective equivalent of five consecutive strikes by earth-penetrating nuclear weapons, an outcome that would have once been considered impossible……………….

April 9, 2022 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

Expensive nuclear power push ignores chance to cut costs of UK’s electricity system

Energy strategy: expensive nuclear power push ignores chance to cut costs of UK’s electricity system

The Conversation,  Furong LiReader in Electrical Systems, University of Bath, Nigel TurveyVisiting Senior Industrial Fellow in Electrical Engineering, University of Bath, 8 Apr 22,

”……………………… apart from a promised five-fold increase in solar power generation by 2035, the strategy sets no target for generating electricity from some of the country’s cheapest sources, like onshore wind.

The government may defend its decision to ramp up the production of nuclear power as support for a home-grown and reliable source of energy. But some of that hefty investment would be unnecessary if Britain reorganised its energy system to make the most of the nation’s abundant renewable electricity instead.

When the price of a commodity like a soft drink goes up, production can be ramped up fairly rapidly to respond to spot market conditions, which quickly lowers prices again. Building a new nuclear power plant or offshore wind farm is quite different, requiring major investment and the certainty that there will be a reasonable return on upfront investment from selling energy over 30 to 40 years.

In the UK, governments can intervene in the capacity market to ensure a secure electricity supply by paying for reliable sources, which provides the long-term certainty necessary to build sufficient generating capacity. Financial backing changes to reflect the state’s priorities, and the drive for eight new nuclear reactors is reported to cost the public £13 billion.

Building wind farms and nuclear plants is just the first step though. The speed at which they be can integrated into electrical networks and operated to be in tune with power, transport and heat demand is what will actually decide when energy prices stabilise………………..

How to get inflexible, low-carbon energy to homes and businesses reliably and cheaply is as important as building new, reliable sources. And on that count, making more effective use of renewable sources – and reducing energy demand overall – would mean the country could afford to build less nuclear power, which is one of the few low-carbon sources which hasn’t become substantially cheaper.

New technologies

One way to increase customer demand for renewable and low-carbon energy when it’s abundant and reduce it when generation is tight is to incentivise storage technologies.

For example, if electric vehicles are charged up when there is plenty of wind and solar power being generated, 40GW of offshore renewable energy would be enough to power the country’s entire vehicle fleet without any of it going to waste.

To help harmonise Britain’s energy demand with periods when renewable output is high, the government could invest in digital technologies such as smart meters and set up new tariffs which can send price signals to EV chargers. It could also invest in improving the short-term forecasting of solar and wind output. These changes would make distributors aware of customer needs and help customers alleviate stress on the system.

While electric vehicle batteries can manage the variability of renewable output, Britain’s energy system also needs fixed storage – like grid-scale batteries which, unlike the government’s favoured solution of hydrogen fuel, are capable of very fast response times to manage sudden changes………………………

April 9, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Zaporizhzhia is a wake-up call demonstrating the vulnerability of nuclear plants to deliberate acts of war. 

Varrie Blowers, Secretary of BANNG discusses the implications of the war
in Ukraine in the latest column for Regional Life, April, 2022.

In the early hours of 4 March, fire was reported at Zaporizhzhia, the 6-reactor
nuclear power station in Ukraine, Europe’s largest. The Russian army was
carrying out a premeditated attack. A few days before, it had seized
Chernobyl, the site in April, 1986 of the world’s worst nuclear
accident…… date.

It was, mercifully, a training building that was
on fire. Nonetheless, this attack on an active nuclear plant was
unprecedented and in clear breach of the Geneva Conventions.

But Russia was not deterred. Had there been a meltdown in a reactor or fire in the
radioactive waste stores, the people of Ukraine would have been subject to
a nuclear catastrophe. And the radioactive fallout of a nuclear incident of
a magnitude worse than that of Chernobyl, would have had far-reaching and
terrifying consequences.

The incident shows for the first time the dangers
of war in a nuclearised country. Nuclear plants do not seem to have been
designed to cope with war. Nor can they just be switched off and abandoned.

The workers at Zaporizhzhia, it has been reported, are being forced to work
in conditions of exhaustion, hunger and stress – when mistakes could be

While we hope never to experience such acts on our shores, there is
the ever- present threat of terrorism and cyber-attack wreaking havoc on
nuclear installations. Given what has happened, the Government should be
disengaging from nuclear, not engaging in a gung-ho rush to build new
plants, including Bradwell B. Chernobyl and Fukushima alerted the world to
the dangers arising from nuclear accidents. Zaporizhzhia is a wake-up call
demonstrating the vulnerability of nuclear plants to deliberate acts of
BANNG 6th April 2022

April 9, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

British government launches a new government body – Great British Nuclear.

 A new government body, Great British Nuclear, will be set
up immediately to bring forward new projects, backed by substantial
funding, and we will launch the £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund
this month. We will work to progress a series of projects as soon as
possible this decade, including Wylfa site in Anglesey. This could mean
delivering up to eight reactors, equivalent to one reactor a year instead
of one a decade, accelerating nuclear in Britain.

 BEIS 6th April 2022

April 9, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s ”underwhelming” energy plan – ‘Great British Nuclear, with no policies on saving energy, nor energy efficiency

The government announced that a new body called Great British Nuclear will also
be launched to bolster the UK’s nuclear capacity, with the hope that by
2050 up to 24 GW of electricity will come from that source – 25% of the
projected electricity demand.

It has said the focus on nuclear will deliver
up to eight reactors overall, with one being approved each year until 2030.
It also confirmed advanced plans to approve two new reactors at Sizewell in
Suffolk during this parliament. Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Cumbria
(sic) have also been named as candidates to host either large-scale plants,
smaller modular nuclear reactors, or possibly both.

Environmentalists and many energy experts have reacted with disbelief and anger at some of the
measures in the strategy. They cannot believe the government has offered no
new policies on saving energy by insulating buildings. They say energy
efficiency would immediately lower bills and emissions, and is the cheapest
way to improve energy security.

A Downing Street source said the strategy
was now being see as an energy supply strategy. Campaigners are also
furious that ministers have committed to seeking more oil and gas in the
North Sea, even though humans have already found enough fossil fuels to
wreck the climate. There is a strong welcome, though, for the promise of
more energy from wind offshore with speedier planning consent.

The same
boost has not been offered to onshore wind. Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow
climate change and net-zero secretary, said: “The government’s energy
relaunch is in disarray. “Boris Johnson has completely caved to his own
backbenchers and now, ludicrously, his own energy strategy has failed on
the sprint we needed on onshore wind and solar, the cheapest, cleanest
forms of homegrown power.

“This relaunch will do nothing for the millions
of families now facing an energy bills crisis,” he added. Liberal Democrat
leader Sir Ed Davey also described the plans as “utterly hopeless”, while
the SNP’s Stephen Flynn called it a “missed opportunity”. Dr Simon
Cran-McGreehin, head of analysis at the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit,
told the BBC that he also felt “underwhelmed” following the announcement.

 BBC 6th April 2022

April 9, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

U.S. provides Ukraine thousands of missiles, drones; intelligence for war in Donbass — Anti-bellum

Ukrainian News AgencyApril 8, 2022 United States Will Give Ukraine A Batch Of Stingers, Javelins And Switchblade Kamikaze Drones The administration of President of the United States Joseph Biden announced that it would send 12,000 anti-tank systems, 1,400 anti-aircraft systems, hundreds of kamikaze drones, and other weapons to Ukraine as part of a military assistance […]

U.S. provides Ukraine thousands of missiles, drones; intelligence for war in Donbass — Anti-bellum

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U. S. House swears loyalty to NATO as bulwark against Russia, China, domestic “proponents of illiberalism” — Anti-bellum

On April 5 the U.S. House voted to support House Resolution 831, below, by a margin of 362-63. The 63 representatives voting against it were all Republicans. The liberal establishment media immediately pounced on them as being treasonous Russian pawns and foreign-directed malign actors following in the fatal footsteps of predecessors who had opposed everything […]

U. S. House swears loyalty to NATO as bulwark against Russia, China, domestic “proponents of illiberalism” — Anti-bellum

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment